INDIANAPOLIS – A Roman Catholic priest from Indiana who has been studying in Greece hasn’t been heard from since he said he feared for his life earlier this week, family members said.
The Rev. Christiaan Kappes, 36, told his family Monday that he might be in danger from his translator’s relatives, said Kappes’ sister, Nadia Charcap of Franklin, about 20 miles south of Indianapolis.
“He said, ‘If you don’t hear from me in 12 to 24 hours then I’m gone, I’m dead,’ ” Charcap told The Indianapolis Star for a Thursday report.
She said her brother was trying to make it back to the United States, but appears not to have boarded a plane in Athens.
Kappes, who is attached to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, has been attending the University of Athens for about three years, said Greg Otolski, a spokesman for the archdiocese. The Star said Kappes has previously lived in Mexico and Italy and speaks at least six languages.
“We’re obviously really concerned about the fact that no one is able to reach him and we’re asking people to pray for his safety,” Otolski told The Associated Press on Thursday.
He said church officials from Indianapolis contacted the Vatican embassy in Washington and the office of Sen. Richard Lugar. The Vatican embassy had no immediate comment.
Lugar’s press secretary, Wayne M. Stanley, said the senator’s office had contacted the FBI and diplomatic officials.
“We are hopeful they locate Father Kappes very soon,” Stanley told the AP.
Kappes’ family said they’ve been in contact with the U.S. embassy in Athens and Greek police, but don’t know what has happened to him.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Kappes visited the embassy in Athens on Monday, but he didn’t request safe haven. U.S. officials don’t know where he went and haven’t spoken to him since, she said.
Charcap told the Star her brother said his translator’s family appeared to be upset about the woman receiving an inheritance from her grandparents and were trying to get the money from her.
“In two days he went from being totally stable to really fearing for his life,” Charcap told the Star.