June 8, 2010

Papa Paok: the Greek Priest Soccer Hooligan

Greek Priest Punished for Rowdiness at Soccer Games

June 07, 2010
Fox News

A Greek priest and die-hard soccer fan was punished by the Orthodox Church for rowdiness at soccer games, church officials said Monday.

Priest Christos was a fervent supporter of PAOK soccer team and would attend games dressed in his robes and a club scarf.

"Papa Paok," as he was known to the fans, earned notoriety after videos of him were posted on YouTube. One showed him in the middle of a throng of supporters who were insulting an opposition team, and another showed a crowd chanting "the priest is a God."

The clerical commission in his parish, in a Thessaloniki suburb in northern Greece, decided enough was enough. The priest, who is in his sixties, was demoted and ordered not to take part in any more "uncouth gatherings of supporters."

The decision angered PAOK fans, who denounced the decision by saying the priest carried out the "social and spiritual work of the church on behalf of the people" and accused the Orthodox Church of a "fascist and reactionary approach."