Eastern Orthodox priest in France shot, wounded

CNA Staff, Nov 2, 2020 / 11:42 am (CNA).- Fr. Nikolas Kakavelakis, a Greek Orthodox priest in Lyon, was gravely wounded in a shooting Saturday. Police are treating the incident as attempted murder.

The priest was attacked with a sawn-off shotgun the afternoon of Oct. 31 as he was closing the Church of the Annunciation.

“We pray for his speedy recovery and unequivocally condemn all forms of violence,” the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of France stated.

Fr. Nicolas, 52, was to have returned to Greece soon. He has been at the Lyon parish since 2012.

A suspect who fit the description given by witnesses was taken into custody Saturday night, but he did not have a weapon, and he was released Nov. 1, as there was no evidence connecting him to the attack.

French daily Le Monde has reported that police are focusing on personal motives for the attack, and that Islamist terrorism is unlikely.

The shooting came days after three people were stabbed to death in Notre-Dame de Nice. The victims of that attack were Simone Barreto Silva, a 44-year-old mother of three; Nadine Devillers, 60; and Vincent Loques, the church’s 55-year-old sacristan and a father of two.

Six men have been arrested in relation to the terror attack in Nice.

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