“My first thought was that it was holy water,” said one of the victims.
A priest in Athens, Greece who was undergoing a disciplinary hearing threw acid at the jury of bishops deciding his fate, according to authorities.
After the bishops announced the unnamed 37-year-old man should be defrocked on Wednesday for allegedly hiding cocaine under his cossack in 2018, the suspect leapt up, pulled out two bottles of acid and sprayed it on the jury, per local news.
“My first thought was that it was holy water,” one of the victims told Greek newspaper Ta Nea. “I quickly realized what was flying — was a caustic liquid.”
It was reported that ten people — including two lawyers and a secretary — were injured in the attack, with burns on their faces and hands. Three of the bishops are still hospitalized.
“It was immediate,” one of the bishops said of the acid’s effect, per the newspaper. “Another [bishop’s] face changed color as soon as the liquid fell on him.”
The priest tried to escape immediately following the assault but was caught by police and is being held in custody. One of the priest’s lawyers told ANT1 News the priest was struggling with his mental health and had attempted suicide about a month ago.
Greece’s health minister, Vasilis Kakilias, described the incident as “unprecedented and tragic,” according to The Guardian.
“The attack with vitriol … is a disgusting act,” tweeted Niki Kerameus, Greece’s minister of education and religious affairs. “I wish them a speedy recovery and a good return to their duties.”
And Archbishop Ieronymos II of the Greek Orthodox Church reportedly rushed to the hospital to support the bishops.
“Fortunately we avoided the worst” he said during a news conference, according to the Greek Reporter.
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