French police have arrested a suspect after a gunman shot and seriously injured Greek Orthodox priest Nikolaos Kakavelakis twice, leaving him seriously injured in the stomach at 4pm local time Saturday.
Newspaper reports point to police reports that say the 52-year-old priest – a father of three – was closing the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Lyon when he was shocked by a hunting rifle.
The Lyon public prosecutor’s office said he had opened an investigation for attempted murder and was liaising with the national anti-terrorism prosecutor, however the shooting was not declared a terrorist attack but a ‘personal dispute’. Le Monde newspaper said there was a hypothesis that this was linked to a long-running conflict within the city’s small Greek Orthodox community with allegations of fraud against Kakavelakis which were rejected by a Lyon court earlier in the year. The priest had a long-running legal dispute with a monk, reported French media reports.
A disgruntled community member was later detained as the main suspect, though Lyon local media had earlier reported that a man was arrested after 7pm in a kebab shop in the city though he was later released.
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The Greek Foreign Ministry condemned the attack.“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the attack on an Orthodox priest of Greek origin near the Church of the Annunciation in Lyon, France,” the statement said.
Ekklisiaonline.gr responded to numerous articles referring to the death of the priest, stating that this has not been confirmed.