Rhodes hoteliers and restauranteurs are up in arms over a decision by Bishop Cyril II to ban wedding ceremonies by foreigners at the Monastery of Agios Pavlos (St Paul) after British newlyweds posted a photograph of themselves on social media appearing to be engaging in a sex act, German daily TAZ (Die Tageszeitung) reports.
The famous chapel, located in the town of Lindos, hosts hundreds of ceremonies each year and dozens of other British couples could have had their wedding plans cancelled following the bishop’s decision.
“We cannot allow the desecration of the monastery in the name of profit,” said Bishop Cyril II, adding that Lindos has many other “idyllic spots” to host wedding ceremonies.
“As of next year, civil ceremonies will stop there,” he said.
The German daily points out that “the chapel of St Paul under the Acropolis of Lindos is not only beautiful but also a sacred place for the Orthodox Church. It is believed to be the spot where Apostle Paul arrived on his third missionary journey some 2,000 years ago, bringing Christianity to Rhodes”.
The German paper goes on to add that Rhodes tourism professionals are expressing concerns that they will “lose significant income in the coming years due to a single photo”.
The report underlines that wedding tourism is one of the main sources of income for the island and that some 600 couples marry annually at St Paul generating “some 15 million euros in revenue”.