Bishop Amvrosios, the Greek Orthodox Bishop of Kalavryta and Aigialeia in the southern Peloponnese, is known for his outspoken views on a number of issues. His extreme statements on homosexuality were deemed to be an abuse of his ecclesiastical office during a three-judge hearing at Aigio on Monday.
In 2015, the conservative bishop had written posts on the topic of homosexuality, and he urged his readers to “spit upon” homosexuals as he did not consider them to be human beings but “rejects of nature.”
His racist statements, made during the same-sex partnership debate in Greek parliament, had been viewed as hate speech by a group of citizens that set a legal motion against him. He had been acquitted for the racist statements. On appeal, he has been found guilty of abusing the powers of his office in the anti-gay blog posting.
He received a seven-month sentence, suspended for three years.
Bishop Amvrosios said that it had been the “most difficult day” for him. He defended himself, following the ruling, by stating that he was not against homosexuals but against the “sin” itself. He told the Greek National and State Television broadcaster that his rage had not been against gays but against the politicians that voted in favour of the same-sex partnership agreement.
Cleo Papandoleon, the lawyer representing the group of citizens who sought legal action against the bishop, said that the ruling sets limits to “inflammatory and racist speech.”