Greek priest punished for Hooliganism
A Greek priest has been punished by the Orthodox Church for hooliganism after he was spotted among crowds of chanting football fans.
Priest Christos, who is in his sixties, was a fervent supporter of Greek football team PAOK FC, whose fans are notorious for being among the most violent in Greece.
He would attend games dressed in his robes and a club scarf, earning him the nickname Papa Paok.
The priest earned notoriety after videos of him were posted on YouTube in the middle of a throng of supporters who were insulting an opposition team, and another showed a crowd chanting “The priest is a God”.
The clerical commission in his parish, in a Thessaloniki suburb, demoted the priest and ordered not to take part in any more “uncouth gatherings of supporters”.
The decision has angered PAOK fans, who organised a Facebook campaign entitled “Free Papa Paok” which has 7,500 members.
In a press release fans denounced the decision, saying the priest carried out the “social and spiritual work of the Church on behalf of the people” and accused the Orthodox Church of a “fascist and reactionary approach”.