Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mariam Soulakiotis, "The Woman Rasputin," Tortured & Murdered 177 Young Women - 1950


Because the study of female criminality attracts only a tiny faction of the funding devoted to the study of crime the number of historical cases of female serial killers that are yet to be discovered is huge and many known cases are still hidden from the wider public. This case is all but unknown outside of Greece.

Miriam Soulakiotis: worse than Charlie Manson; much worse.

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FULL TEXT: Athens, Greece – An outlawed order of nuns, which broke away from the Greek Orthodox Church in 1923 and which was held responsible for the death of 177 girls, has gone into hiding and so far all efforts to smash the clandestine group have flopped.

Contrary to the laws of their country, about a hundred women are believed practicing the weird religion of the Calendarist sect which places an exaggerated importance on prayer and punishment. Vowing to catch up with the phony nuns, Greece's ace detectives have found themselves outfoxed up to now.

Snorted a spokesman at the Greek ministry of justice:

"The women are socially dangerous crackpots and have been very clever in giving us the runaround. But one day they'll make a slip, as all criminals usually do, and we will catch them. Those crazy females claim that will someday go to heaven, but if we meet up with them, we’ll show them what hell is like first.”


~ Since 1950 ~

The Calendarists first hit the news columns back in 1950 when their convent’s mother superior, Miriam Soulakiotis (a former factory worker), was arrested on 23 charges that included murder, fraud, embezzlement, abduction and assault. As a result of the shocking revelations made by Prosecting Attorney Andreas Papakaris during the 3 trials needed to cover all the charges, Miss Soulakiotis became known as “The Woman Rasputin.” Sentenced to 16 years, she died in prison in 1954 at the age of 71.

During the sensational proceedings it became known that The Woman Rasputin preached and practiced religious beatings for her followers as the only means of obtaining salvation.

She also duped many of her new recruits into signing over their property to her name since she convinced them this was the best way to get into heaven. Prosecutor Papakarius reported that the abbess amassed a fortune of some $150,000 by embezzling the dowries of Greek women who joined their convent.


~ 177 Deaths. ~

Sworn medical testimony at the trial showed that as a result of the severe penances Mother Miriam imposed, at least 177 known inmates died at “the convent of horrors” in the town of Keratea, 30 miles southeast of Athens. One of these was believed to be an American girl, 22-year-old Ileana Spirides of Toledo, Ohio, who disappeared while on a tourist trip to Athens.

The Calendrist movement had its beginnings in the 16th century when most Roman Catholic countries adopted the Georgian calendar instead of the old Julian calendar (decreed by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.), the timing of which was a few minutes off every year.

Although the new calendar spread over Europe, it was not until 1923 that Greece brought itself in line with the rest of the world. This change having induced dissension throughout the Balkan state, one group of Orthodox nuns split with the mother church and set up their own independent order which advocated sticking to the old calendar.


~ New Leader Unknown. ~

Although the Woman Rasputin of the rebel Calendarists has been dead for nearly 8 years, her fanatic followers carry on the work of gathering recruits on the sly. Every month several families report teenagers missing – girls who, before their disappearance, expressed a desire to join the Calendarist movement, even though it’s a crime to belong.

Just exactly who bosses the bizarre colony these days is not known by the police. Whoever she is, she’s a shrewd one who has perfected the art of making herself and her pseudo-sacred sisters vanish into nowhere.

When the law eventually catches up with her, certain it is that Greece will give the Calendarist queen plenty of time to do in stir – time based on the Gregorian calendar, naturally.

[Nino Lo Bello, “Seek Greek Women of  Calendarist Cult,” Cedar Rapids Gazette (Io.), Dec. 31, 1968, p. 7]

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From School for Scoundrels wiki: 

Soulakiotis, Mariam, prom. 1940s-50s, Gr., fraud-embez.-mur. In the early 1920s, a Greek monk, Father Matthew, established a religious sect called the Calendarists and built a convent about thirty miles southeast of Athens, near Keratea. He was aided by a former factory worker, Mariam Soulakiotis, who began to take control of the convent during WWII when Father Matthew was in his eighties. She began sending monks and nuns to recruit wealthy converts, and as they arrived, they were required to confess, fast, go without sleep, pray, maintain silence, and turn over their estates. New converts who did not adhere to these policies were beaten and other members were regularly punished.

In about 1949, local villagers began to gossip about screams coming from the convent and in early 1950, the daughter of one convert contacted the Athens prosecutor, and charged that Soulakiotis had forced her mother to sign over her estate. After investigating, the prosecutor discovered that about 500 recruits had left their estates to the convent and then died.

In December 1950, Soulakiotis was arrested and in September 1951, she was tried on charges of unlawfully confining a girl in the convent for twelve years. The child, placed in the convent in 1938, had been told she was an orphan and her father had been told that she had died. Soulakiotis was convicted, and sentenced to twenty-six months in prison. A nun was also convicted as an accomplice and was sentenced to four months in prison. About a year later, in 1952, Soulakiotis, eight nuns, and a phony bishop were tried on charges of withholding food and medical treatment from a monk and three nuns, causing their deaths and obtaining their estates by fraud. On Feb. 6, 1953, Soulakiotis was sentenced to ten years in prison, a nun received a ten-year sentence, another nun was given a three-year sentence, and the fake bishop received a year in prison. Soulakiotis was again brought to trial on charges of embezzlement, fraud, and illegal detention and abuse of a convent member. On Nov. 18, 1953, she was given another four-year term, to be served concurrently with the prior sentence.

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EXCERPT: Aside from swindling her disciples, Mariam [Soulakiotis] dominated every aspect of their lives, cutting off their contact with relatives, caging some like animals, resorting to starvation, flogging, and torture to purge new recruits of their “demons.” No doctors were permitted on the grounds, and many recruits who entered the commune were never seen again. A mother from Thebes joined the cult with her four daughters; all five were dead within six months of their arrival on the Mount of Pines. Nocturnal passers-by reported screams and moaning from the compound. One night, two drunken villagers scaled the fence and found an elderly woman chained to a wall, but she declined their help and the intruders kept their observation to themselves. [Michael Newton, Bad Girls Do It!, Loompanics Unlimited, 1993, p. 160]

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FULL TEXT: London, Friday. — She was called the "wickedest woman of the century," this snub-nosed little Greek with black snapping eyes, who died in an Athens prison hospital on November 23 aged 61.

Her real name was Mariam Soulakiotis. But to Greece and the European world she will always be "Mother Rasputin", the woman who perverted religion to make herself a fortune, who was responsible for the torture and starvation of nuns who'd made over property to her in return for "eternal salvation".

Her bogus convent was alleged to have made Mother Rasputin £50,000 in money, jewellery and property.

~ Caused death of hundreds ~

She and her collaborating priests at a nearby monastery were said to have caused the deaths of several hundred of the credulous.

For years until the arrest or Mother Miriam, as she called herself in 1949, screams and groans had troubled the sleep of villagers living near the white-cupolaed convent set high among the forested hills of Attica.

But the convent began innocently enough as a result of a religious schism.

In 1923 the Greek Orthodox Church decided to come into line with the rest of world religious
thought which had centuries before adopted the Gregorian Calendar of Pope Gregory the 13th.

A breakaway group calling themselves the Calendarists resolved to stick by the Julian Calendar formulated by Julius Caesar 45 years before Christ.

One Father Matthaios took himself off to the hills of Attica to found his separatist group.

Soon there arose nearby the convent of Pefkovounogiatrissa ("The Virgin in the Pines"), and some years before the war there came Mother Miriam.

Father Matthaios died in 1952 at 93, but long before there had begun the gigantic system of torture and starvation.

Mother Miriam became high priestess of the convent, a woman perpetually cowled in black, with her blackcurrant eyes flashing from a face almost entirely covered.

~ Employed "agents " ~

She organised "agents" all over Greece to search out those willing to be converted and wishing for "eternal salvation".

It was said at the first trial of Mother Miriam that there were young girls, elderly ladies and even whole families who were drawn into her maw at the convent.

The facade was finally smashed in 1949, when the police began to check on a Greek-born girl from the United States, Ileana Spirides, who was thought to have been taken to the convent.

The police broke in, aided by howling peasants from the village.

They found no trace of 18-year-old Ileana.

Instead in an under ground cell they discover ed a 70-year-old woman, starving and emaciated.

She was in chains and her 4 ft. by 7 ft. cell was windowless.

She said that she had been living for weeks on dry bread and water as a "penance".

From there police and the public prosecutor began to piece together a story of medieval fantasy coupled with 20th century fraud.

They were told how sincerely religious people were beguiled to the convent and immediately
made to undergo 40 days fast of penance. There Mother Miriam as she appeared before her trial.

Mother Miriam as she appeared before her trial. followed a week without sleep.

At the end the victim was promised "eternal salvation and lasting peace" if all property was signed over to the convent.

Those who refused, it was claimed, were forced to take narcotic drinks and tortured.

Silence was enforced, and those who spoke were beaten in the face with a shoe by Mother Miriam.

Each time a nun died, it was said, her relatives were told "Sister X is sleeping in Jesus Christ". Converts became "brides of Christ" and were told they were damned and guilty of "moral adultery" if they left.

It was said that of 358 "recent" deaths, 55 were due to tuberculosis and the Public Prosecutor said that over many, years 390 titles of land had been made over to Father Matthaios, Mother Miriam and a Sister Mendrinos.

After her arrest in 1949, the woman Rasputin was held in prison for almost two years while authority sifted through, the fantasy of her establishment.

Then in September, 1951, she was sentenced to 26 months' jail for keeping a young girl in the convent and pretending to her relatives that the girl was dead.
~ Prosecutor's emotion ~

The prosecution said that Mother Miriam "hastened death by fasts and penances".

In February of 1953, Mother Miriam was brought from prison this time to face another 23 charges.

The prosecution, loaded with evidence of a kind of which Edgar Allan Poe might have dreamed, went ahead' on six of them.

The prosecutor spoke with emotion when he, said. "If anyone goes through the file of these crimes, he would be so shaken that he would never recover.”

It was said that 127 men and women died under fast and penance in the hilltop nunnery and monastery.

Mother Miriam was given another 10 years in prison for embezzlement, a nun from the convent was awarded 10 years, and a bishop one year for complicity. Throughout the trial the "wickedest woman in the world" kept an expression of stern contempt and went to her sentence without emotion.

[Richard Martin, “Mother Rasputin. - They Aptly Named Her "Wickedest Woman" Of The Century,” The Sun (Sydney, NSW, Australia), Nov. 26, 1954, P. 22]

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Μαριαμ Σουλακιώτη

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[Source of Soulakiotis photo:[“Nuns Charged With Abduction,” The Mercury (Hobart, Tasmania), Jan. 25, 1951, p. 5]

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CHRONOLOGY
1500s – The Calendarist movement had its beginnings in the 16th century when most Roman Catholic countries adopted the Georgian calendar instead of the old Julian calendar (decreed by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.), the timing of which was a few minutes off every year.
1900 – Mariam Soulakiotis born.
1920 – Father Matthew establishes a religious sect called "the new calendarists;" convent a Karatea (near Athens).
1923 – Calendarist order splits from Greek Orthodox Church. when the church adopted the Gregorian calendar.
1939 – Father Matthew, head of the two institutions, dies (80s).
1949 – local villagers began to gossip about cries and desperate cries coming from the convent.
1950 – Calendarist convent’s mother superior, Miriam Soulakiotis arrested on 23 charges, including murder. She owned 300 houses and farms, gold, jewelry.
1951 – Calendarist order is outlawed.
Feb. 6, 1953 – Soulakiotis sentenced to ten years in prison.
Nov. 23, 1954 – Soulakiotis, 71, dies in prison hospital, Athens.

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For more cases of this type, see: Occult Female Serial Killers




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