Fterikoudes mukhtar Modestos Iacovou on Monday broke his silence over the ongoings at the infamous Osiou Avakoum monastery, laying into the Tamassos Bishop Isaias for damaging the community.

Several witnesses from the village have testified against the bishop in a case brought against him by the suspended monks of the monastery.

Iacovou testified to the church investigative committee on the presence of vehicles at the Tamassos bishopric on March 11, in one of which icons from the monastery were loaded.

According to the same testimony, a second vehicle was also occupied by Isaias himself, who rejected the claims of the community leader, even though Iacovou claimed five other individuals also saw the bishop.

He told Philenews that the community council, in a letter to all the church leaders, except Isaias, asked to bring back the monks so that the monastery can function normally.

He said the council visited the archbishop asking for his help.

He added that Archbishop Georgios referred him and the delegation to submit to the investigative committee all the evidence before them for examination.

Responding to a comment that the monks involved in the scandal would be removed and that other monks will obviously be found to staff the monastery, Iacovou said that he and the community believe that the monastery should be reopened, either with the suspended monks or with others.

He also said that the community has supported and been supported by the monastery.  People donated their properties to build the monastery which should be supplemented to help the community as well, he said.

If there is a financial problem, the Tamassos bishopric will not solve it from the Avvakoum monastery, the community leader said.

Asked as to the role played by the presence of the monastery in Fterikoudes, Iacovou said that apart from the small businesses that operated in the area, the community itself started restoring houses to be rented out to pilgrims. This activity faded after the events of March 5, when the monastery was effectively closed. 

Finally, referring to the suspended monks, he said that “they were hard-working and despite their fatigue from all the work in the monastery, with the love of the people, the miracle of the blossoming of the area was achieved, always with the help of the residents.”

Meanwhile, the monks’ lawyers and the archbishop have exchanged some statements about whole church procedure against the monks.

The archbishop had said on Sunday that all procedures were being run by the church charter, regarding the investigations into the monks.

However, the lawyers have said that the entire process is illegal in previous announcements and again most recently on Monday.

In their announcement on Monday, they posed 20 questions on the entire procedure to Georgios, saying that the church prelate already knows the outcome of the investigations and that the whole procedure is being conducted as a show.