Lesvos Church Stirs Controversy Over Use of Australian Funds Intended for Earthquake Victims

    A decision by the metropolitan church of Mytilini (Lesvos) to use 150,000 Australian dollars donated as earthquake aid by Greek-Australians, to repair churches, has angered residents on the island, who lost their homes to earthquakes in June.

    Instead of allocating the aid to earthquake victims, the church is using the funds to reconstruct 23 damaged churches and chapels on the island.

    There has been no response from local church authorities or the archbishop of Athens to protests by earthquake victims.

    On Friday, the Ephorate of Antiquities on Lesvos announced it had signed a contract with a construction company to support the Agios Nikolaos church in Plomari, which “was near collapse”.

    Also on Friday, the Aegean branch of national broadcaster ERT publicised a letter by the cultural association of Vrisa residents of Athens to the Metropolitan Iacovos of Mytilini, asking for funds from the Australian gift to provide home heating for earthquake victims. The need is for “165 dehumidifiers and 70 portable heaters, totalling around 24,000 euros, as the Vrisa residents who lost their homes live in buildings only meant for the summer and have no heating,” the association said.

    “Please inform us if you intend to subsidise the purchase of these heating appliances using the funds sent by Greeks of Australia, as the purchase must be completed the soonest possible, with winter coming on,” the association’s letter concluded, attaching a list of the beneficiaries.
    (Source: AMNA)