ATHENS – Among evidence Greek authorities said they’ve uncovered during a probe of the extremist Golden Dawn party on charges of operating a criminal gang is video footage showing leader Nikos Michaloliakos discussing with friends which Greek Orthodox Bishops helped party rally public support and votes, evaluating who was friendly or unfriendly to the party.
Reports said that he praised clerics who helped get the elderly to the 2012 ballots, the second of which saw Golden Dawn, which got just 0.29 percent of the vote in 2009, win 18 seats in Parliament on the back of an agenda that was anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-Capitalist and anti-atheist, although the party had pagan roots before declaring itself ultra-Orthodox.
Magistrates investigating Golden Dawn, which has been accused of having neo-Nazi leanings, have reportedly seen the video, which was posted on some news websites and which shows Michaloliakos listing Bishops as “good,” or “worthy,” particularly those in Piraeus, Sparta and even Kalavryta, site of a horrific massacre of village people by the Nazis during World War II.
The Golden Dawn leader claims that the Bishop of Sparta convinced the residents of a retirement home to vote for the party last year. Michaloliakos also alleges that Bishop Andreas of Konitsa funded the local Golden Dawn office.
Michaloliakos, who is in jail with two other of his party’s lawmakers – three others have also been arrested – also referred to Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus as a “diamond,” who he claims made efforts to get a far-right MP voted into the Cypriot Parliament.