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February 15, 2022 4:32 pm

Greek Activists Sentenced for Saying Orthodox Bishop Who Railed Against ‘International Zionist Monster’ Is ‘Antisemitic’

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Greek Orthodox Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus has a long history of antisemitic comments. Photo: Screenshot.

A Greek court has sentenced two human rights activists to 12-month jail terms, suspended for three years, after it deemed that they had falsely accused a Greek Orthodox bishop of antisemitic hate speech.

In a verdict denounced by one human rights group, Greek Helsinki Monitor, as “representative of the institutionalized antisemitism that exists in Greece,” the court acquitted Bishop Seraphim, the Metropolitan of Piraeus, of incitement, The Guardian reported.

An obsessive homophobe and enthusiastic conspiracy theorist, Seraphim has a long record of bigoted statements. Commenting on a Greek law permitting same sex marriages in 2015, the bishop claimed that the “international Zionist monster” was behind the legislation.

During a 2010 television interview, Seraphim claimed that “Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new Empire.”

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He has also accused “international Zionism” of transforming the Jewish religion into “Satanism,” with the purpose of  “striving vigorously towards an economic empire set up throughout the world with headquarters in the great land beyond the Atlantic for the prevalence of world government and pan-religion.”

More recently, the bishop has established himself as a prominent supporter of vaccine refusal. In Dec. 2020, he was investigated by the Piraeus prosecutor for declaring in a sermon that the vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic “are made and prepared with the product of abortions.”

Human rights activists filed a formal complaint against Seraphim in April 2017 which quoted the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece’s assessment that the bishop promoted “well-known antisemitic stereotypes, conspiracy theories and traditional Jew-hating attitudes.”

After a prosecutor dismissed the complaint more than two years later — arguing the statement should be seen in the context of the doctrine of the Christian Orthodox church — the bishop responded by filing his own complaint against the activists for allegedly making false statements against him.

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