A Greek woman was savagely beaten and left bleeding on the steps of a Melbourne church on Saturday morning.
Penelope Katsavos, 78, known to the parish as “Kyra Poppy,” was opening Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox church in South Yarra at about 6 AM on Saturday morning when a man and woman approached her.
The man punched her in the face, pushed her to the ground and kicked her.
Katsavos, who has been opening the church every morning for 30 years, was left on her own for 30 minutes before she was found lying on the steps by a street cleaner who called the police.
The attackers did take her trolley but it was later found in a nearby park with nothing stolen from it.
Her hip and wrist were fractured and she had suffered internal bleeding as well. It is too early to know whether or not Katsavos will make a full recovery.
Greek community in shock
Parish Priest Dimitrios Papakyriakopoulos told Greek Reporter that “the Greek Orthodox community is in shock.
“I knew Katsavos very well, she was an everyday presence in the church. She offered her services free of charge to the church and the Greek Orthodox community,” Father Dimitrios said.
He told Greek Reporter that Katsavos had been caring for her husband, who suffers from dementia, and the attack meant she may not be able to care for her husband again.
“Other members of the family would have to take care of her husband,” the priest said.
Father Dimitrios, who has been serving Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox church for 37 years, did not want to speculate about the motive for the brutal attack.
He noted, however, that the area where the church is located at South Yarra has seen increasing violence in recent years.
Erin Katsavos, Penelope’s daughter-in-law, told the news outlet 3AW it was a senseless attack.
“They did initially take her shopping trolley but they just discarded it without stealing anything, no money, not her phone. They’ve just done it,” she said.
“We’re just shocked … and just devastated for her.
“We want the people who did this to be found, so that, firstly, they can’t do it anybody else, and that they’re held accountable for what they’ve done.
“It’s too early to really tell what the ongoing issues will be. They’re still monitoring what’s going on with her brain.”
Victoria Police confirmed they were investigating the incident.