Family arrested after weapons discovery; live off-grid with religious beliefs

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Members of a religious community calling themselves "Palaio-Christians" ("Old Christians") were arrested a few days ago for possessing weapons, including arrows, axes, air rifles, makeshift bows and rifles, shotgun shells, and one military-grade rifle with two magazines.

Four family members (three adults and a minor) were arrested after a scuffle with police following a complaint about the 45-year-old father allegedly setting his car on fire. During the raid, family members resisted arrest and attempted to flee through a tunnel on their property, while one officer was injured by a wooden bat.

The four were released pending trial.

Police found the family, including their four children aged 22, 14, 6, and 1, living in primitive conditions in a makeshift mud and straw hut without electricity or running water on their land near Corinth. They had built an underground hovel with a 30-meter tunnel leading to a ravine "for their own protection," they said.

Before moving there, the family lived and worked in Athens. They describe themselves as "Palaio-Christians" who left the city to live self-sufficiently, growing their own food and raising animals, similar to their ancestors.

They cited the Amish, kibbutz communities, and Old-Faithful groups as examples of alternative lifestyles and stated they follow traditional practices of Abrahamic religions.

Their ten-person community includes six children. Two additional women from the community joined them after the raid to offer support. The mother is pregnant with their fifth child.

The children currently don't attend school. The mother told Mega TV that they used to, but now they are homeschooled. The father mentioned difficulty accessing school during winter and expressed their disagreement with the education system.

He claimed they are not Greek because "Greeks were pagans" and identified as "Rums," referencing Eastern Orthodox beliefs before the Great Schism. He stated they are a religious minority exempt from sending their children to school, although official recognition of their community remains unclear.

He said there are four similar "Palaio-Christian" communities in Greece.

Sources: ethnos, iefimerida, newsit, and others

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