A Catholic priest from Indiana who disappeared in Greece after telling his family he believed he was in danger has been located and is trying to return to the U.S.
The family of Fr. Christiaan Kappes of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis said he made contact with them in the early morning of Oct. 8. He said he and his translator safely left the country, Indiana’s Fox 59 News reports.
The archdiocese said it is “elated” to learn that he is safe.
“We thank everyone for their prayers and support for Father Kappes and ask that people continue to pray for his safe return to Indiana,” it said Oct. 8.
“We also would like to thank the Vatican and all the authorities who have been searching for Fr. Kappes.”
The 37-year-old priest had been engaged in doctoral studies in Athens on Orthodox Christian theology at the request of the Vatican.
Fr. Kappes' friend and translator Ioanna Lekakou is reportedly hospitalized with some injuries but is expected to recover.
Lekakou was involved in a major dispute over her family’s inheritance. Fr. Kappes told them someone had threatened to kill her and he believed he too had become a target.
On Oct. 1 the priest told his father that he believed his life was in danger because of the dispute.
“He told my dad on Monday, ‘If you don't hear from me in 12 to 24 hours, I'm dead,’” Father Kappes’ sister Nadia Charcap told Fox 59 News.
Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., and the office of U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) had been investigating the priest’s disappearance.