It’s a crime even the vicar of Grantchester would be hard put to solve. His help may be needed, however, after Larisa police and prosecutors decided not even to try to solve what appears to be a murder attempt against the Bishop of Larisa, who belongs to the Old Calendar or the Traditional Orthodox Church. Old Calendar priests and bishops are not paid by the state unlike the mainstream New Calendar Orthodox Church clergy (such as the Bishop of Volos, Theodekti etc).
As so often happens in Greece, the Bishop’s case has been archived.
When we bumped into each other at Larisa court, Bishop Philotheos himself showed me the police report he had managed finally to wring out of the prosecutors. It apparently dismisses the bullet holes shot into his a tiny mountain cabin, which serves as his home and monastery, as strays fired by hunters.
Possible, just as being mauled by a grisly bear in the centre of bustling Larisa is also possible. But it is not likely the shots were accidental considering how visible, white and small the cabin is, and how many bullets hit it.
A google map of his cabin in Tempe showing two monasteries belonging to the New Calendar, mainstream, state funded Orthodox Church, as well as a shooting club close by.
A picture of the cabin set on the side of a dirt road and surrounded by low olive trees.
A picture of the main door and wall dotted with bullet holes fired from the dirt road adjacent. According to the Bishop, a police car was parked close by at the shooting club at the time of the shooting in December 2016.
Notice one bullet hole at the height of the Bishop’s head. He just happened not to be in his cabin in December 2016 when the incident happened. Otherwise he might well have been fatally wounded.
Two bullet holes in the side of the cabin.
What might the motive for a crime be?
The cabin in the Tempe Valley is close to Alexander the Great era towns with potentially valuable artefacts buried on the land or close by, it seems. Might the Bishop’s cabin be sitting on some ancient Greek temple or tomb like Amphipolis?
Might potentially priceless statues and artefacts be buried among his 10,000 square metres of olive trees? Might someone want him out of the way for that reason?
The cabin also sits on old road, which is used today to smuggle migrants north. The Bishop once witnessed a group of men pass by with 11 Pakistani migrants suspected to trying to cross the border north illegally. Might he be considered a potentially dangerous witness?
The Bishop is an Old Calendarist and traditionalist. They use the historic Julian calendar and are separate from the mainstream Orthodox Churches, which is a department of the state
The Greek government pays the salaries of about 10,000 New Calendar Orthodox priests and bishops like the Bishop of Volos in Greece.
“The Greek church is a national church,” Karamouzis says, “which means there is a political connection between the church and the state, for the state awarded it these privileges. Its spiritual role is closely linked to its political function, muddying the distinction between its congregation and Greek citizens, a source of confusion which politicians use in their quest for votes.”
Like everything connected with the Greek government, the Orthodox Church is infested with organized crime. Sources claim that most of the bishops are freemasons, something incompatible with Christianity.
Might the Bishop be a threat to some one carrying out illegal activities?
Or might the bullet holes really just be an accident as the police claim?
Hopefully, Bishop Philotheos is a good sleuth…