I almost swallowed my tongue when I read this, forwarded to me by Trout.
Nuns on the run after their Greek knitting business fails
Helena Smith in Athens
Tuesday January 30, 2007
A group of nuns were last night holed up behind the protective walls of the Xenia monastery in the central Greek town of Volos after fleeing their convent when their knitting business failed, leaving nearly half a millon pounds of debt.
Ignoring pleas and protests to return to the fold from Archbishop Christodoulos, the country’s fiery spiritual leader, the order’s mother superior signalled that the nuns would be staying put, despite mounting consternation from a number of banks.
Yesterday her stance sparked a mini-crisis for the Greek Orthodox church, which, after convening bishops and other top clerics, described the incident as “a first” for the church.
The order, whose 55 members have been described as a “feisty crowd”, are believed to have run up the debt after splashing out on six industrial knitting machines to produce woollens that became highly popular with the local community around their convent, close to the Greek-Bulgarian border. They apparently sold products to some 25 chains around Greece. Store owners complained that the nuns had also run off with a substantial amount in pocketed deposits. Apparently they removed their equipment a few days before they disappeared.
Greece’s authoritative Kathimerini newspaper reported that the knitting business began to unravel when the nuns accrued massive debts after attending foreign fashion shows in a bid to keep up with the latest designs in woollen garments. They are then believed to have mortgaged the monastery of Kyrikos and Ioulittis to the hilt to pay off the debt.
With the banks demanding the money back, Greece’s holy synod says it is confronting one of its worst crises ever involving an order of nuns.
Last night there was little sign that the nuns would come out of hiding, even if Archbishop Christodoulos agreed to take them under his wing. Religious commentators said their convent would probably have to be liquidated to pay off the debt.
Hey! Don’t fuck with knitting nuns!