The Facebook page for Geron Pastitsios, later taken offline (Facebook)
The Facebook page for Geron Pastitsios, later taken offline (Facebook) Reuters

A 27-year-old man was arrested in Greece for blasphemy against famous Greek monk, Elder Paisios, Business Insider reported.

Paisios, an Orthodox monk from Cappadocia who died in 1994, was highly venerated in Greece and Russia, and formal canonisation as saint in the near future has been speculated.

The unnamed suspect set up a Facebook page using the mocking name Geron Pastitsios, which is a Greek pasta dish.

The arrest was agitated by neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, according to some Twitter users.

"The issue was raised in the Parliament by the Neo- Nazi group Golden Dawn, after which the police was mobilised," claimed Stratos Safioleas, International Media Adviser at PyeongChang2018.

"The cybercrime spotted recently in [...]Facebook a page ( /gerontas.pastitsios) which contained blasphemies and insults against Elder Paisios and Orthodox Christianity," reads a press release from the police's cybercrime unit.

It said that the police received thousands of complaints about the page from people all over the world. The cybercrime unit took the page offline and seized Evia's laptop, before arresting him.

Three articles of the Greek Penal Code punishes whoever "by any means blasphemes God". Article 199 states that "who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church" shall be punished "by imprisonment for not more than two years".

In 2003, an Austrian writer, Gerhard Haderer, was prosecuted for his book The Life of Jesus, which reportedly portrayed Jesus as a hippie. He was acquitted in 2005. The Greek Orthodox Church is the official state church for Greece.