Greek Orthodox bishop convicted of hate speech resigns

U.S. & World

FILE – In this Feb. 4, 2018 file photo, Greek Orthodox Bishop Amvrosios takes part in a rally against an agreement with neighbouring Macedonia over its name, in Athens, Greece. The Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta, a fiery conservative Greek Orthodox bishop known for criticizing, often in intemperate terms, those who he believed acted in a “non-Christian” or “non-Greek” way, including gays, migrants and politicians, has resigned, it was reported on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. (Christos Bonis/Eurokinissi via AP, File)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavryta, a fiery conservative Greek Orthodox bishop known for criticizing, often in intemperate terms, those who he believed acted in a “non-Christian” or “non-Greek” way, including gays, migrants and politicians, resigned Sunday.

Amvrosios, 81, announced his resignation Sunday at Mass. He has served in the diocese of Kalavryta, in southern Greece, since 1978.

The Metropolitan achieved notoriety for his support of the far-right, anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party. A blog post he wrote about gays in 2015 — calling them “the scum of society” and urging people to spit on them — led to his being convicted by a local court of hate speech in January 2019. He was given a seven-month suspended sentence.

In October 2017, he directed priests in his diocese to ring church bells each day, at noon for three minutes and for one week, to protest what he called an “anti-Christian and anti-Greek” law making it easier for people to officially change their gender.

Last year, he declared that a deadly wildfire near Athens was God’s punishment for the “atheist” left-wing Greek prime minister at the time, Alexis Tsipras.

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