Christian Landmark Attacked In Greece By CoExistence Group
Large cross monument on Greek island levelled to the ground because it could be ‘offensive to Muslim migrants’
By EMMA R.
October 11, 2018
The ancient mythical Greek island of Lesbos is today better known as anchorage ground for human traffickers and the problems and conflicts that have arisen in connection with the boat traffic.
It is now reported that a large cross monument on the Greek Orthodox Christian island has been levelled to the ground. This after a group claiming to promote intercultural coexistence argued that the cross could be perceived as offensive to the predominantly Muslim boat migrants.
The cross monument was built on the cliffs of Apellia, beneath the castle of Mytilene, in memory of people who have died in the sea. According to the local coexistence group, however, the cross was offensive because many who have drowned, and many migrants on the island are not Christians.
The local newspaper on the island reports that the group has also received support from some aid organisations that expressed similar negative opinions about the cross-shaped memorial monument.
A letter was sent to the Island’s port minister and mayor, in which the coexistence group claimed that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.
The letter stated that the initiators of the monument were “aspiring crusaders” with racist and intolerant motives who abused the Christian cross, which should be a symbol of love and sacrifice. And they therefore called for the monument to be demolished.
And that was what happened. Just a few days later, at night, the whole monument was levelled to the ground. The demolished remains of the cross remain as rubble on the site.
The attack by the coexistence group on the monument and the demolition of it has aroused strong reactions in large parts of the local population who believe that the deed goes against the Christian religious beliefs shared by a majority of the inhabitants of the Island.
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Leonidas Vorias, a 38 year-old volunteer firefighter and MMA champion, organized the process to rebuild the cross.
”I was frustrated when I saw these pictures,” said Vorias, speaking to the Proto Thema newspaper. “We are Orthodox Christians, the symbol of our religion is the cross and we cannot accept it being destroyed.”
The cross had originally been erected by a religious group in September. Its construction resulted in the reaction of a non-governmental organization known as “Movement for Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean,” which argued that it was inappropriate to turn a Christian symbol into “a tool of aspiring crusaders.”
The NGO also argued that the cross was placed there to prevent migrants from swimming.
A week ago, the cross was found destroyed. Local police attempted to find those responsible for the vandalism, but with no results.
According to information published by Proto Thema, locals are staying in the area to guard the cross and prevent attempts to destroy it a second time.