A 27-year-old man has been arrested for blaspheming a monk on Facebook for what is being regarded as ‘malicious blasphemy’. Police allege that the man managed a Facebook page that mocked the deceased Eastern Orthodox monk Elder Paisios, a widely popular religious figure, using the name "Gerontas (Elder) Pastitsios."
Pastitsios is a Greek pasta dish, and the page parodied the monk and his work in the vein of Pastafarianism, a rather lighthearted satirical movement that promotes atheism. In a screen shot that has now been removed from Facebook, Elder Paisios was shown with a plate of plastics.
The unidentified man was arrested by the Cyber Crime bureau of Greek police and his laptop was confiscated. According to Reddit user DeSaad publishing of satirical images on Facebook angered members of ring wing political parties in Greece such as Golden Dawn, who then called for the man’s arrest under the blasphemy laws of Greece.
However, the arrest has sparked an outrage across the Internet. Reports disclose that hashtag #FreeGeronPastisios was among the top trends on Twitter in Greece. A petition has also been filed to address the immediate release of the accused man and the abolishment of anti-blasphemy laws in the country.