Associated Press

November 27, 1996


ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Three monks and a priest appeared before a Greek Orthodox prosecutor Wednesday in a sex scandal involving tales of monks in red panties and homosexual orgies at a remote monastery.

Church spokesman Ioannis Hadjifotis said the four clergymen testified behind closed doors before the religious prosecutor investigating alleged scandals at Osios Theodoros monastery on the Aegean island of Kithira.

The depositions were taken in Athens as Kithira residents took to the streets, waving black flags and chanting slogans against the scandal-plagued monastery.

The case was made public last week, when the four clergymen accused one another of sexual impropriety in a televised showdown.

SKY television said ratings soared as viewers tuned in to hear tales of monks wearing red panties and flowing cocktail gowns for beauty contests and homosexual orgies in and out of the monastery.

Guest appearances were made by an Albanian would-be monk who accused the abbot of sexual harassment and a transvestite who claimed to have taken part in sexual games along with a 9-year-old boy.

Bishop Iakovos of Kithira suspended the clergymen from religious duties Tuesday and referred them to "ecclesiastic justice ... for breaching a series of religious canons and rude televised scandalizing of the flock."

Hadjifotis told The Associated Press.

He said the religious prosecutor's probe also would include testimonies of Kithira locals, but did not say when the four defendants would be tried before a religious court of bishops. If found guilty there, the defendants may be defrocked.