A fellow Greek Orthodox adherent and disgruntled community member has been detained and is the main suspect in the attempted murder of Fr. Nikolaos Kakavelakis outside the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Lyon, according to French authorities.
Kakavelakis remains in critical condition, after taking two gunshot wounds to his chest.
The shooting, which took place at 4:00pm local time in central Lyon, sparked nationwide fear in a country on edge following a spate of Muslim extremist attacks.
According to the Lyon police, Jean-Michel Dhimoïla— a French national, Greek Orthodox Christian and member of the same Lyon parish where Fr. Nikolaos was shot, was apprehended and brought into police headquarters for questioning.
Dhimoïla, a former legislative candidate for the far-right French political party Debout la France, was also once a Greek Orthodox Monk and had a long-standing personal conflict with the priest.
According to the French newspaper Le Monde, the former monk and the priest were involved in long-standing disputes that ended up in court.
A video was shared with The Pappas Post from 2016 that appeared to show Mr. Dhimoïla being removed from the back door of the church in Lyon, by Kakavelakis himself. While both men have been identified in the video and clearly shows an altercation, it is unknown how the video was shot or who shot it.
A YouTube channel owned by an individual named Arthur Picot includes the same video, as well as numerous others critical of the Greek Orthodox priest.
According to a Facebook post from 2016, the Greek Orthodox Church in Lyon posted an announcement about an incident between the former monk and the parish priest, barring Dhimoïla from entering the church.
The Facebook post, published on the community’s official page, alluded to a six-year-long conflict between the two men.
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