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A Greek Monk Strikes Below the Belt in a Campaign to Eliminate Nude Statues

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I will continue to destroy every naked statue wherever I find it, even if it is half-clothed.” So vowing, a self-appointed censor named Charalambos Koulas, a Greek Orthodox monk, was sentenced to serve eight months in prison for “cultural destruction.”

The object of his rage was a plaster replica of an ancient bronze statue of the sea god Poseidon, depicted sans fig leaf. Koulas, 41, hiding a heavy iron hammer beneath his robes, had sought out the sculpture in the lobby of the Ministry of Education and Religion in Athens in March. He was whacking his way up the statue’s legs when he was wrestled to the floor.

“God will punish him,” the monk muttered of the judge after sentencing. “He should agree that the only Greek statues permissible are those of ancient warriors dressed in armor.”

“Disgraceful!” added a young woman supporter, who was promptly jailed for 24 hours for her courtroom outburst. Her encouragement may not have been appreciated by the prison-bound monk anyway. Koulas’ monastery on Mount Athos bans from the premises all females—both human and animal.