Greek police arrest man for Facebook taunt

September 24, 2012 3:29 pm
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The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party had filed a complaint in parliament on the issue last week/AFP-File
ATHENS, Sep 24 – Police in Greece have arrested a 27-year-old man for hosting a Facebook page taunting a late Orthodox monk with a large following.

The police on Monday said the man was arrested on the island of Evia after the state cybercrime unit received “thousands of online complaints… from various countries around the world.”

The Facebook page mocking Elder Paisios was dedicated to ‘Elder Pastitsios’, a reference to pastitsio, a popular Greek dish of pasta and ground beef.

It showed a monk with his face covered in pastitsio slop.

The police said the page contained “blasphemy and insults against Elder Paisios and Orthodox Christianity” in general.

The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party had filed a complaint in parliament on the issue last week.

Elder Paisios, a monk who lived in the monastic enclave of Mount Athos in northern Greece and died in 1994 at the age of 70, has a large cult following in the country attributed to his alleged prophetic powers.

The police said the page contained “blasphemy and insults against Elder Paisios and Orthodox Christianity” in general.

According to his followers, he foresaw the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and Greece’s present economic crisis.

The arrest was slammed by many Greek bloggers as censorship, and a new Facebook page dedicated to an ‘Elder Parisios’ appeared, adorned with the caricature of a monk with the Eiffel Tower for a head.

“Remind me again, which country gave rise to (ancient Greek satirist) Aristophanes?” one user posted on Twitter while others compared Greece to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Some 90 percent of Greeks are baptised into the Orthodox faith, but the Church of Greece – which is seen as excessively wealthy and lacking in motivation to help the poor – has lost its popularity in recent years.

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