Farmer shoots self over cult?

Kathimerini, Greece/December 21, 2006

A 32-year-old Cretan farmer, who was in the hospital yesterday after shooting himself twice, tried to commit suicide after allegedly being brainwashed by a religious sect operating on the island, the man’s relatives maintain.

The family of the father of three from Rethymnon claims that he has become a weak-willed pawn to the leaders of this cult since becoming involved with its activities about two years ago.

According to relatives, the 32-year-old had been talking with one of the sect’s leaders shortly before he turned his shotgun upon himself, firing once into his stomach and once into his chest.

According to the farmer’s relatives, the sect has been seeking to convert islanders for years and is alleged to have wrecked several lives. The relatives have appealed to local authorities to take action to curb the cult’s activities.

Archbishop Irenaios of Crete yesterday visited the Iraklion hospital where the 32-year-old is being treated. The extent of the farmer’s injuries was unclear.

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