Monk Caught Smuggling Nun’s Bones Through Airport Security

Travel News — By Morgan DeBoer on January 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

A plan to smuggle the remains of a nun into Cyprus were thwarted on Sunday. Authorities at Athens airport stopped a Cypriot monk who was found with a skull and other bones in his luggage during a security check. He was arrested, charged with theft and desecrating the dead. They were free on bail and released until trial.

The monk and two accomplices allegedly dug up the remains of Eleni Vathiadou after a memorial service held by her family to commemorate the four year anniversary of her death. Eleni was once a nun at a Cypriot convent and the monk intended to rebury her at his monastery. He told authorities that she was a Saint and belongs in Cyprus. Ms. Vathiadou was from Larnaca Cyprus, and knew the three individuals, but was not a Saint.

In many Greek Orthodox churches, the remains of Saints are displayed for the faithful to worship. In some cases, bodies of holy people who are not officially Saints get the same treatment.

But not like this. According to Reuters, Cyprus’s Archbishop Chrysostomos condemned the exhumation and called it sacrilegious and unacceptable.

“It appears to be the work of charlatans with a financial interest.”

The monk was suspended for three months but he contends he was just trying to bring the nun home.

Feature Image: Brian Snelson/Flickr

Tags: air travel, Arrest, Cyprus, Greece, Monk, travel

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