Watch what you say about monks on Facebook.
A 27-year-old man was arrested in Greece for blasphemy against a famous Greek monk, Elder Paisios, reports The Business Insider. The man had set up a Facebook page under the false name Geron Pastitsios, the blasphemy in question stemming from the fact that the name used is also a Greek pasta dish. Paisios was an Orthodox monk from Cappadocia who died in 1994. He was highly respected in Greece and Russia, and a prime candidate for formal canonisation as a saint.
In the arrest report, Greece’s Cyber Crime Unit claim that the unnamed man’s blasphemous account contains “profane and abusive content for Elder Paisios and Orthodox Christianity,” and that the police received “thousands of e-complaints coming from residents of different countries around the world.”
The page was taken offline and the young man’s laptop was seized prior to his arrest, reports the International Business Times.
Some Twitter users have claimed that the arrest was prompted by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, and the hashtag #FreeGeronPastitsios is going viral overseas. “The issue was raised in the Parliament by the Neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn, after which the police was mobilised,” claimed Stratos Safioleas, International Media Adviser.
Religious blasphemy, on social media or otherwise, is considered a crime in Greece. Three articles of the Greek Penal Code punish anyone who “by any means blasphemes God,” and Article 199 states that any person “who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church” will be punished “by imprisonment for not more than two years.”
What say you? #FreeGeronPastitsios or did he get what he deserved?