Monday, May 7, 2012

Attempt to Assassinate Greek Priest in Libya

Greek original here.

Members of the Greek Orthodox community of Tripoli [Libya] are intensely troubled and saddened  by the recent attack against the church and against our priest, Fr. Joachim Vasilakou, Vicar General of our Holy Metropolis.

On Wednesday, May 2, between 9:00 and 9:30 AM, when Fr. Joachim was entering the Church of St. George and was within the church's courtyard, a fanatic Muslim "brother"-- probably a foreigner and not a Libyan national-- fired a Kalashnikov at the priest from a building adjacent to the church.

The bullet struck ten centimeters in front of Fr. Joachim's feet, lodging itself in the floor.

He immediately informed the president of the Greek community and the Ambassador of Cyprus, who immediately rushed to the Greek Charge d'Affaires in Tripoli. At the same time, in cooperation with Libyan friends of the community, the head of security for the Old City was contacted. He rushed to the church and made an investigation, finding with his own eyes that the bullet was not accidentally fired, but was rather an assassination attempt. 

Both the Cypriot and Greek embassies made strong protests to the Libyan government and the Greek embassy has requested police protection for the Greek Orthodox Church, the only one in Libya and surrounding cities.

On Friday, the Divine Liturgy was held and all the Greek community prayed for peace in our region and throughout the world, asking our patron saint, Saint George, to protect the church and our community.

The Ambasador of Cyprus, Pericles Stoibaros, the Greek Charge d'Affaires, Ioannis Mitzalis, President of the Greek Community in Tripoli, Dimitrios Anastasiou, and other figures in our community were present.

Thus they expressed their sympathy and support for our Holy Metropolis, to Metropolitan Theophilaktos, and to Father Joachim.

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