Aigio, Greece, January 29, 2019
His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrose of Kalavryta of the Greek Orthodox Church has been sentenced on appeal to 7 months in prison, with a 3-month suspension for inciting violence against homosexuals and abuse of his office, the Express Tribune reported yesterday.
The church bells in his metropolis rung out mournfully yesterday in protest of the conviction, reports orthodoxia.info.
The fiery metropolitan was acquitted in March of last year, with the court not finding any incitements to violence in a controversial 2015 blog post in which the bishop wrote about the sin of homosexuality.
His Eminence was accused of hate speech after his blog posting in which he condemned same-sex relations and called on the faithful to oppose them, calling homosexuality a deviation from the laws of nature. The post came as Greek parliament was voting 193-56 in favor of homosexual civil partnerships.
In his own defense, Met. Ambrose stated at that time that he struggles against those who are against God. “God created man and woman, not an anomaly. I wrestle with those who are against God. Homosexuals are our brothers and sisters, but not children of God,” the prelate said, explaining that, in their fallen state, living against nature, they are not “creations of the Lord. God turns away from all of them.”
Various rights groups described the initial decision as a “shame,” calling it a “parody” of a trial, reports Keep Talking Greece.
This case was the first of its kind in Greece—charging a representative of the influential Orthodox Church. Prosecutor’s appealed the original verdict, and the Aigio criminal court handed yesterday down a sentence of seven months in prison, with three months suspended.
During the appeal, Met. Amrbose noted that at the time he wrote the blog post, homosexuality was a criminal offense.
“This day is the most historic of my life, because I am persecuted for the love of Christ,” the metropolitan said.
His lawyers said that they will appeal to Supreme Court to declare the sentence null and void.
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