A 56-year old Cypriot monk was arrested at an Athens airport after authorities discovered skeletal remains in his luggage, reports Reuters. Upon opening the monk’s suitcase, airport security discovered a skull wrapped in cloth and skeletal remains wrapped in a sheet.
The monk told authorities that the remains belonged to a deceased Cypriot nun that he believed to be a saint.
In the Greek Orthodox tradition, revering to skeletal remains of saints is common. Relics of saints are put on display for public adoration, and a box for donations is placed beside it, creating suspicion that the monk may have intended to use the relics for financial gain.
The monk was charged with theft and desecrating the dead, a misdemeanor in Athens. Additionally, he was suspended from his monastic duties for three months following his arrest.