The priest at the center of an acid attack against the seven prelates who were adjudicating his laicization case at the Synod at Petraki Monastery in Athens on Wednesday has been sent to a psychiatric hospital.
Greek police officers arrested the man after the disturbing incident, in which not only seven Metropolitans but also lawyers and a police guard were injured.
The unprecedented attack on the ten individuals came as the accused priest, who was allegedly involved in drugs, was brought before the tribunal and threatened with laicization, or the removal for his priestly duties.
He was committed to the state psychiatric hospital Dromokaitio and is under police guard pending a psychiatric evaluation. Greek authorities had earlier concluded that the man involved in the acid attack is in no position to testify before a prosecutor at the present time.
Acid attack shocks nation of Greece
The police case file has not yet been sent on to the prosecutor’s office, so no official charges have yet been filed in the disturbing and unprecedented incident.
The attack took place just after the metropolitans had decided on disciplinary measures against the priest and hieromonk for alleged trafficking in drugs.
The seven prelates suffered injuries from a corrosive liquid, thought to be a type of acid, on their faces and hands. They are all currently being treated in hospitals for their injuries.
The suspect also injured a police officer who helped restrain him after the incident occurred, as well as a lawyer and a presiding priest who were on the scene at the Synod.
The 37-year-old priest and hieromonk has now been arrested and is in custody.
The seven metropolitans were immediately transported to Laiko Hospital in Athens while a police officer who ran to apprehend the priest was transferred to the 401 Military Hospital in the Greek capital.
The Metropolitans of Kassandreia, Nikodimos, Artis Kallinikos, Andreas of Dryinoupolis, Dionysios IV of Zakynthos, Kyrillos of Kifissia, Dimitrios of Goumenissa and Antonios of Glyfada are reportedly among those who were injured in the ghastly attack.
The proceedings came to a halt after the man stormed the building, which is where the Holy Synod always holds their meetings, and attacked the seven prelates.
“Fortunately we avoided the worst,” said Ieronymos, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, after the incident.
He told the press that the 37-year-old priest was being tried “for acts that did not match his function.”
Petraki Monastery in Athens is site of Holy Synod
The Monastery of the Holy Incorporeal Taxiarchs (Άγιοι Ασώματοι Ταξιάρχες), commonly known as Petraki Monastery (Μονή Πετράκη, “Monastery of Petrakis”), is a Byzantine-era monastery in Ampelokipoi, Athens.
It serves as the seat of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, where all major decisions are taken by the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, along with other metropolitans.
The monastery’s katholikon, a cross-in-square church of the Constantinopolitan type, dates back to the 10th century. It was recorded during the Ottoman years as a stauropegic monastery and a metochion of the Karea Monastery, located on Mount Hymettus.
It was also known as tou Koukoupoule (τοῦ Κουκουπουλῆ), but received its current popular name in 1673, following its renovation by Parthenios Petrakis.
The Petraki Monastery is a treasure of Byzantine hagiography created by George Markou the Argeius, a prolific post-Byzantine ecclesiastic iconographer of the 18th century.