Two Greek prosecutors are asking a three-judge court in the northern Peloponnese town of Aigio to overturn the acquittal of Bishop Amvrosios of Kalavryta, who had been charged with inciting hatred.
With tight security, the new trial began to consider the clearing of the cleric of instigating violence and abusing his position in an online rant in 2015, commenting on a parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage.
“Do not go near them! Do not listen to them! Do not trust them! They are the damned members of society!” Amvrosios had written in reference to gay people, describing homosexuals as “monstrosities of nature.”
“They are psychologically and spiritually unwell! They are people with a mental disturbance,” he said.
Riot police were stationed outside the Aigio courthouse to prevent tension between his supporters and gay rights activists, said Kathimerini.
Last July, the provocative cleric drew criticism from the head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, for blaming wildfires that killed 100 people as God’s vengeance for the country having an atheist Prime Minister in Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.
“This is a sad phenomenon. God is love. God does not take revenge but urges all to love one another… there is a limit to personal views,” Ieronymos said.
“Atheist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras draws the wrath of God,” Bishop Amvrosios wrote on his blog. “The atheists of SYRIZA are the causes of the general disaster! Their atheis, draws the wrath of God!” he added.
That drew quick condemnation on social media, including from other Greek Orthodox clerics with the head of the Church, Archbishop Ieronymos, who has done essentially nothing to rein in the provocative Bishop, at first putting out a statement saying Amvrosios was “only expressing his personal opinion.”