Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

French police on Sunday released an initial suspect in the shooting of a Greek Orthodox priest and widened their search for the gunman who critically wounded the priest as he closed the door to his official residence at a church in the city of Lyon.

The Lyon prosecutor’s office said a man who was arrested shortly after Saturday’s shooting was released after they found no evidence of his involvement, suggesting that the clergyman’s assailant remained at large.

The priest remained in critical condition after being shot with a hunting rifle, said a police official, who was not authorized to be publicly named according to police policy.

Story continues below advertisement

The Greek Orthodox Holy Diocese of France identified the victim as the Rev. Nikolaos Kakavelakis, and said he was scheduled to return soon to Greece after his time working at the Lyon church.

“We pray for a speedy recovery and unequivocally condemn all forms of violence,” it said.

The motive for the shooting remains unclear. Anti-terrorism prosecutors are not investigating the case, and the Lyon prosecutor opened an attempted murder investigation.

Police cordons in the vicinity of the church, located in a residential area of central Lyon, were removed and the search area was widened to the broader Lyon area, the national police service said.

France has been under high security alert after the killing of three people at a Nice church on Thursday, amid global tensions over cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed published in France. The French Prime Minister has promised more protection for religious sites.

It also came amid tensions within the Greek Orthodox community in Lyon. The priest, a Greek citizen, had had a long-running legal dispute with a former monk who was convicted of defamation, according to French media reports.

The head of the Greek Orthodox Church in France, Emmanuel Adamakis, told French radio station Europe 1 that Father Kakavelakis was no longer conducting services in Lyon and “had been asked to return to Greece.”

Story continues below advertisement

The attack appeared to have taken place in a small courtyard in the back of the church, where the priest had been living in an official church apartment, Metropolitan Adamakis said.

Antoine Callot, the pastor at another Greek Orthodox church in Lyon, told the Associated Press that the city’s Greek Orthodox community has not received any threats, but said he immediately asked police for security protection at his church after Saturday’s shooting.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies