Three lawyers of the Archbishop of Tomis, Teodosie, said on Wednesday that their client benefits from the presumption of innocence and accused daily ‘Romania libera’ of trying to discredit the Romanian Orthodox Church, according to Realitatea TV. Teodosie will be probed for taking bribes after ‘Romania libera’ published an investigative report showing that the Archbishop accepted money from an undercover reporter. In exchange, Teodosie promised to help the man get admitted into the Theology School of Constanta, six months after classes had started. Both the Archbishopric of Tomis and the Prosecutor’s Office announced an inquiry in this case, while a spokesperson for the Romanian Patriarchy said the case would also be analysed by Patriarch Daniel.
Teodosie’s three lawyers, Paula Iacob, Daniel Ionascu and Dan Frangetti, told a press conference on Wednesday that their client will not make any statements about the case until he is officially summoned by prosecutors. The lawyers said they were surprised with the “prompt” reaction of the Constanta Prosecutor’s Office, which begun an inquiry only a few hours after the report was published. The lawyers also accused one of the authors of the newspaper report of “hypocrisy”, saying that the man had been a theology student for two years and that he tried to hit the church from the inside. They called the reporter “a poor frustrated” individual who did an extremely “ignoble thing.” The entire report was labeled an attack on the Archbishop of Tomis and the entire Orthodox Church of Romania. “This will be a spiritual shock for the simple country folk,” Ionascu said. “The relationship between the media and the beautiful church should be like an engagement,” he said. In turn, Frangetti said this is an unprecedented media attack. “Meanwhile, Constanta prosecutors transferred the case to the High Court Prosecutor’s Office after receiving confirmation from the Tomis Archbishopric that Teodosie is part of the High Clergy. Thus, he cannot be probed by local investigators.