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Monday, January 30, 2023

Attack on Greek Orthodox Church in Lyon: Greek Priest Circling the Drain – Suspect Arrested

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Doctors at the city hospital are battling to keep alive the 52-year-old priest Nikolaos Kakavelakis, who was shot twice by unknown perpetrator in the Greek Orthodox church Agios Stefanos in Lyon, France.

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on Saturday. Late at night it became known that the authorities arrested a suspect.

According to Le Figaro, citing sources familiar with the investigation, the authorities are investigating the possibility that it was not a terrorist attack as the priest had been attacked in the past by a citizen. Information says that the perpetrator of the previous attack, was a Greek who was facing psychological problems.

It was four o’clock in the afternoon and Father Nikolas Kakavelakis was preparing to close the church located in the seventh municipal district of the city.

Outside the church, someone approached him, pulled out a carbine, the barrel of which he had cut, and shot the priest twice, who fell on the street covered in blood. The shrapnel found Father Nikolaos in the abdomen and chest.

Rescuers arrived a few minutes later and tried to stop the bleeding and keep him alive so he could be rushed to hospital. Other believers were not present in the temple as there was no service.

Police officers who arrived at the place of the attack, blocked the area and taking testimony from those who were near at the time of the murderous attack, try to “draw” the picture of his identity.

The assassination attempt shocked France, as it happened just days after the horrific terrorist attack on a church in Nice. However, according to the mayor of Lyon, Gregory Duchess, the motive of the perpetrator remains unclear.

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In Paris, Interior Minister Gerard Darmanen convened a crisis management committee at the ministry.

Prime Minister Jean-Castex, who traveled today to Rouen and Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in northwestern France, where a Catholic priest, Father Amel, was massacred in 2016 by two jihadists, stressed the government’s “absolute determination to allow all and everyone individually to practice his religion with complete security and complete freedom.

“Our will is strong: our determination will remain undiminished, it is the honor of France, it is the honor of Democracy,” he said.

Who is the Greek priest?

As it became known, the priest is originally from Chania and is the father of two children. He lives in Lyon and is the president of the Greek Orthodox community.

According to information, Nikolas Kakavelakis is a theologian, historian and at the same time taught Byzantine History courses at the University of the city. He lives many years in the French city, with his family.

The small church that was attacked is located in the center of Lyon, in a neighborhood with houses, and with few passers-by on the streets since this is the first weekend of quarantine.

It still remains unknown if it was a terrorist attack with religion characteristics, although the attacks of the previous days in France show that something like this is happening. To be noted that the incident has happened three days after the attack in front of the church in Notre Dame, Nice, where three people were killed by an armed Islamist.

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Reports indicate that the Greek Orthodox community has never received threats. Following the attack in Nice, President Macron announced an increase from 3,000 to 7,000 troops to take part in Operation Sentinelle to protect places of worship and schools.

To this force are added almost 7,000 members of the forces of public order, half of whom are reserve gendarmes, who from Monday will be at the disposal of the prefects to guarantee security.

According to what became known from the Ministry of Interior of France, a large operation of the Police is underway to locate the perpetrator. Residents have been advised to stay home as the perpetrator remains unarrested.

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“This horror transcends human reason. A religion to arm the hands of terrorists blinded by the hatred, and extremely intolerant and fanatical people, fundamentalists of violence and death, to use a religion as a bullet aimed at the heart of freedom, and in particular the religious freedom of others, as a weapon to eliminate all opposing views and every person in the civilized world who has the inalienable right to express it, as a knife that slaughters human rights “.

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This statement was made by the Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, Ieronymos, who is expected to contact the Metropolitan of France, Emmanuel, within the day in order to express his sorrow for the attempted murder of an Orthodox priest of Greek nationality, in the church where he served, in the city of Lyon in Southeastern France.

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