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Author Topic: Esphigmenou Monastery - Should the Monks Have Left or Been Evicted?  (Read 30915 times) Average Rating: 1
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PeterTheAleut
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« on: January 25, 2009, 06:35:08 PM »

The following thread started here:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,18657.0.html   -PtA


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Similarly, if the Church is one, why is there a dispute between some Orthodox monks and the Greek Patriarch?

You must have meant monks from Athonite Esphigmenou monastery. They rebelled in 1970s because of calendar reform and Church's involvement in ecumenical activities. They shouldn't have done that, the most important feature of monk is obedience.
Obedience to Tradition, or blind obedience to a human authority who may be out of step with Tradition?
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 06:39:18 PM »

Obedience to authority and monastic humility.

Of course when religious authorities sheer away from Orthodox faith they shouldn't be obeyed but in this particular situation it didn't take place.
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2009, 06:42:52 PM »

Obedience to Tradition, or blind obedience to a human authority who may be out of step with Tradition?
Obedience to the tradition of a Patriarchal Stavropegial Monastery- which is what esphigmenou and all of the other 19 monasteries of Athos are.  If they disagree with the Patriarch, they should respect the Tradition and leave the Patriarchal monastery- not try to steal it. If people want to "make a stand against the Patriarchate", they should have the courage of their convictions to make their stand by rejecting Patriarchal assistance and property, not try to have their cake and eat it too.
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2009, 07:12:16 PM »

Of course when religious authorities sheer away from Orthodox faith they shouldn't be obeyed but in this particular situation it didn't take place.
Depends on how one defines Orthodox faith.  According to your interpretation, the EP's calendar reforms and ecumenical activities were not deviations from Orthodox faith.  According to a more hard line Traditionalist interpretation, the New Calendar and our participation in ecumenical activities are violations of conciliar decrees bearing general authority and therefore ARE deviations from Orthodox faith.  In the end, we'll need little short of an ecumenical council to render an authoritative judgment on the issues dividing much of the Orthodox Church from the EP.  Until then, though, can we really fault a specific monastery for following their more Traditionalist Orthodox conscience?


Obedience to Tradition, or blind obedience to a human authority who may be out of step with Tradition?
Obedience to the tradition of a Patriarchal Stavropegial Monastery- which is what esphigmenou and all of the other 19 monasteries of Athos are.  If they disagree with the Patriarch, they should respect the Tradition and leave the Patriarchal monastery- not try to steal it. If people want to "make a stand against the Patriarchate", they should have the courage of their convictions to make their stand by rejecting Patriarchal assistance and property, not try to have their cake and eat it too.
I agree.  Even if I were to agree with the Esphigmenou monks as to the substance of their dispute with the EP, I still don't think the proper response is to refuse to vacate the EP's property when he asks them to leave.
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2009, 07:39:24 PM »

Until then, though, can we really fault a specific monastery for following their more Traditionalist Orthodox conscience?

I completely cannot understand both reactions of the monks and the Patriarch.

The Patriarch shouldn't have tried to force them to change the calendar. If they wanted to use the old one, they should be allowed to. It's a minor difference.

The monks shouldn't have break communion with the Patriarch. In my opinion if they hadn't done that they would have manage to clear the situation with talks not anathemas. But if they hadn't been granted a possibility of JC usage they should have used revised-Julian (or left the monastery as You mentioned).

It's sad that such a minor disagreement effected with a schism and many other negative effects: treatments about blowing the monastery up, infamous "Orthodoxy or death" flag, using police forces to throw monks out and many other things.



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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2009, 07:47:05 PM »

Depends on how one defines Orthodox faith.  According to your interpretation, the EP's calendar reforms and ecumenical activities were not deviations from Orthodox faith.  According to a more hard line Traditionalist interpretation, the New Calendar and our participation in ecumenical activities are violations of conciliar decrees bearing general authority and therefore ARE deviations from Orthodox faith.

I wonder though how many Orthodox bishops hold these hardline positions or is it only individuals in various Churches?
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2009, 07:53:08 PM »

You must have meant monks from Athonite Esphigmenou monastery. They rebelled in 1970s because of calendar reform and Church's involvement in ecumenical activities. They shouldn't have done that, the most important feature of monk is obedience.

At that time every monastery on the Holy Mountain went out of communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch and his name was not commemorated at any Liturgy on the Holy Mountain.  One by one the monasteries dropped their stance and began to commemorate him again.  Esphigmenou remains the only monastery which has continued with the protest and it has become more and more complicated over the intervening years.
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2009, 08:07:37 PM »

Obedience to the tradition of a Patriarchal Stavropegial Monastery- which is what esphigmenou and all of the other 19 monasteries of Athos are.  If they disagree with the Patriarch, they should respect the Tradition and leave the Patriarchal monastery- not try to steal it. If people want to "make a stand against the Patriarchate", they should have the courage of their convictions to make their stand by rejecting Patriarchal assistance and property, not try to have their cake and eat it too.

Why?

History shows instances where the Athonites have rejected, and justifiably, the authority of Patriarchs.   Patriarch John Bekkos used troops to slaughter Athonite monks because they would not accept his plans for union with the Catholics.   Why should they have folded their tents and abandoned their monasteries and fled?  Btw, Bekkos was later condemned as a heretic.

I am not sure about the stavropegial.  Don't all the monasteries have royal foundations spelled out in documents called Chrysobuls which exempt them from any external authority, whether of bishops or patriarchs?   I need to check this out.   The Patriarch's authority on the Holy Mountain is very vague.

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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2009, 11:01:05 PM »

Why?
Because it is unjustified.
History shows instances where the Athonites have rejected, and justifiably, the authority of Patriarchs.   Patriarch John Bekkos used troops to slaughter Athonite monks because they would not accept his plans for union with the Catholics.   Why should they have folded their tents and abandoned their monasteries and fled?  Btw, Bekkos was later condemned as a heretic.
And that was justified.

I am not sure about the stavropegial.  Don't all the monasteries have royal foundations spelled out in documents called Chrysobuls which exempt them from any external authority, whether of bishops or patriarchs?   I need to check this out.
Do check out what a stavropegial monastery entails. But more importantly, NO MONASTERY IS EXEMPT FROM THE AUTHORITY OF THE BISHOP. The Bishop is in the Church and the Church is in the Bishop. Wherever there is no Bishop, there is no Church. Whose signature do you think was on the Antimensions of the Non-Commemorators?

The Patriarch's authority on the Holy Mountain is very vague.
It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2009, 12:27:38 AM »

It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.

Is the Ecumenical Patriarch a hybrid Head of State if anyone can directly ask Him for Permission to stay on the Holy Mountain and circumvent two nights maximum stay if one asks the Mount Athos Administrators?  If the answer is yes, are the monastics justified in saying that the Ecumenical Patriarch has declared Himself Pope of a sovereign area much larger than the Vatican?
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2009, 12:45:20 AM »

It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.

Is the Ecumenical Patriarch a hybrid Head of State if anyone can directly ask Him for Permission to stay on the Holy Mountain and circumvent two nights maximum stay if one asks the Mount Athos Administrators?  If the answer is yes, are the monastics justified in saying that the Ecumenical Patriarch has declared Himself Pope of a sovereign area much larger than the Vatican?
The holy mount Athos is under the jurisdiction of the EP. If the monks were in Greece they would fall under the Greek Patriarch. Mount Athos is not a part of the EU. It's almost like it's own country. Under the EP.
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2009, 12:50:56 AM »

It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.

Is the Ecumenical Patriarch a hybrid Head of State if anyone can directly ask Him for Permission to stay on the Holy Mountain and circumvent two nights maximum stay if one asks the Mount Athos Administrators?  If the answer is yes, are the monastics justified in saying that the Ecumenical Patriarch has declared Himself Pope of a sovereign area much larger than the Vatican?
The holy mount Athos is under the jurisdiction of the EP. If the monks were in Greece they would fall under the Greek Patriarch. Mount Athos is not a part of the EU. It's almost like it's own country. Under the EP.

I believe that the EP and the Greek Government co-administer Athos which is the reason I'm curious about the rules being different if one asks the EP for a permit vs. asking the Athos Offices for a shorter permit.  If the EP outranks the Greek Government, then He is a political ruler and suddenly, the direct comparisons to the Pope can be made....
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2009, 01:00:25 AM »

It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.

Is the Ecumenical Patriarch a hybrid Head of State if anyone can directly ask Him for Permission to stay on the Holy Mountain and circumvent two nights maximum stay if one asks the Mount Athos Administrators?  If the answer is yes, are the monastics justified in saying that the Ecumenical Patriarch has declared Himself Pope of a sovereign area much larger than the Vatican?

Why don't you ask a less obtuse question, like "why can he do that?" rather than the seemingly-inflammatory ones above?

Mt. Athos is a unique place, which both contains monasteries, and is (for all intents and purposes) also a monastery itself.  It is a place governed for the monks, by the monks.  The EP's authority at the essential level is that of a Bishop over his monasteries.  The jurisdiction of the EP over the Holy Mountain is probably due to the close imperial ties to the region during its great expansion (otherwise, it should probably be under the Archbishop of Thessaloniki or someone like that).

However, additional responsibility/authority is granted by the State of Greece, which retains highest civil jurisdiction (hence, why it is called "Semi-Autonomous" in a legal sense) through its constitution, by explicitly maintaining that only those in communion with the EP have the legal right to occupy the Holy Mountain.  This is essentially where the crux of the current dispute lies.  See, any monk can be asked to leave a monastery by the Bishop under whose spiritual direction the monastery is under.  However, only on Mt. Athos does said eviction also carry the weight of law and the enforcement of the state.  The enforcement by the state is what is being decried as inhumane - because the state does not feel compelled to abide by the same standards of charity that the Church would, if handling it herself.
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2009, 01:01:28 AM »

The holy mount Athos is under the jurisdiction of the EP. If the monks were in Greece they would fall under the Greek PatriarchArchbishop. Mount Athos is not a part of the EU. It's almost like it's own country. Under the EP. 

There, fixed it.
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2009, 01:02:31 AM »

It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.

Is the Ecumenical Patriarch a hybrid Head of State if anyone can directly ask Him for Permission to stay on the Holy Mountain and circumvent two nights maximum stay if one asks the Mount Athos Administrators?  If the answer is yes, are the monastics justified in saying that the Ecumenical Patriarch has declared Himself Pope of a sovereign area much larger than the Vatican?
The holy mount Athos is under the jurisdiction of the EP. If the monks were in Greece they would fall under the Greek Patriarch. Mount Athos is not a part of the EU. It's almost like it's own country. Under the EP.

I believe that the EP and the Greek Government co-administer Athos which is the reason I'm curious about the rules being different if one asks the EP for a permit vs. asking the Athos Offices for a shorter permit.  If the EP outranks the Greek Government, then He is a political ruler and suddenly, the direct comparisons to the Pope can be made....

Nothing like a good bit of scandal-mongering.  Lord forbid that a bishop have more authority in a monastery than the government.
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« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2009, 01:04:35 AM »

[Whose signature do you think was on the Antimensions of the Non-Commemorators?

Some of the monasteries and sketes prefer to use the antimensia signed by your own Archbishop of Australia Stylianos when during the early 1970s he was exarch for northern Greece and Athos.  Others use those signed by Archbishop Ezekiel who lived on Mount Athos after he retired from Australia and was "on call" when abbots wanted monks ordained.

Quote
It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.

On our last visit (we were two monks and a hieromonk) we had a letter from our Serbian bishop and we were there for three weeks.  That was also during the Great Fast but we wanted to be home in our monastery (Zica in Serbia) for the feast of Pascha.
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2009, 01:18:51 AM »

The holy mount Athos is under the jurisdiction of the EP. If the monks were in Greece they would fall under the Greek Patriarch. Mount Athos is not a part of the EU. It's almost like it's own country. Under the EP.

Status in the European Union

For the purposes of the European Union treaty, Mount Athos is a part of a member state Greece, only outside EU VAT territory. Because of its strict entry requirements, it is considered to be exempt from the Schengen Agreement which normally ensures that all EU citizens have the right to enter and reside in any EU territory.

The monks of Athos (who all have Greek citizenship, even the Russian and Serbs) enjoy the right to appeal to the Human Rights Court or any body or organisation of the EU if they believe their rights are being infringed.   We can be thankful to God that to date no monks or monasteries have taken up that right.

When Greece entered the EU it negotiated special provisions for retaining and respecting ancient Athonite customs, such as the right to exclude women.

All matters of international concern and defence are not dealt with by the monks but come within the provenance of the Greek State.

The same applies to criminal matters which are dealt with by Greek courts.

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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2009, 01:19:32 AM »

It's actually quite clear. I have been there twice, and the first time, I obtained permission to stay from the Patriarch rather than the Pilgrim Office in Ouranoupolis, and thanks to that letter, I was able to stay for the whole of Lent rather than just the two nights the Sacred Community of Mount Athos usually only permits.

Is the Ecumenical Patriarch a hybrid Head of State if anyone can directly ask Him for Permission to stay on the Holy Mountain and circumvent two nights maximum stay if one asks the Mount Athos Administrators?  If the answer is yes, are the monastics justified in saying that the Ecumenical Patriarch has declared Himself Pope of a sovereign area much larger than the Vatican?
The holy mount Athos is under the jurisdiction of the EP. If the monks were in Greece they would fall under the Greek Patriarch. Mount Athos is not a part of the EU. It's almost like it's own country. Under the EP.

I believe that the EP and the Greek Government co-administer Athos which is the reason I'm curious about the rules being different if one asks the EP for a permit vs. asking the Athos Offices for a shorter permit.  If the EP outranks the Greek Government, then He is a political ruler and suddenly, the direct comparisons to the Pope can be made....

Well then, lets look at it systematically. I live in America which is free county. "Could be debatable"
If someone enters my house without permission than I can do one of two things. I can take actions to evict that person myself or I can call the authorities. In any event the violator can be removed. The EP I believe is being very nice to the point that he allows the violator to even dine at his table. But it seems the violators, seem to think that they can take away the house and evict the owner. I think that the owner has bin very patient and the violators unjustified. A property Stewart and a political ruler are two different things.  That "Could also be debatable" but one could also look at the Parable of the Tenants for clarity. Matthew 21:33
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2009, 01:24:43 AM »

The EP's authority at the essential level is that of a Bishop over his monasteries.  The jurisdiction of the EP over the Holy Mountain is probably due to the close imperial ties to the region during its great expansion (otherwise, it should probably be under the Archbishop of Thessaloniki or someone like that).

There have been periods when Athos was under Thessaloniki.
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2009, 01:37:46 AM »

 See, any monk can be asked to leave a monastery by the Bishop under whose spiritual direction the monastery is under.  However, only on Mt. Athos does said eviction also carry the weight of law and the enforcement of the state.


Legislation provides that this can be done on Athos only if the monk is guilty of heresy.  Of course if the monk runs amok and murders his brothers this comes under the jurisdiction of the Greek State which will remove him and imprison him.

It was the lack of proven heresy which was the problem with the court action against Esphigmenou in the Greek courts.  The civil court had no jurisdiction to order the removal of the monks and to enforce the order UNTIL some spiritual court had made the determination that the monks were in heresy.  Such a court was never convened - probably because it would have been very risky for the Ecumenical Patriarch to commence a heresy trial against the monks.  It could have easily backfired on him.  It might have generated very adverse effects on his relationship with the other monasteries.  There is even the chance that it could have ignited the Churches of the whole Orthodox world and seen the creation of pro and anti-patriarch camps.  This, again, is something that the fragile condition of the Phanar might not survive.

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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2009, 01:48:26 AM »

If I fanned the flames, I did so inadvertently because I felt that one obtaining a greater permission from the EP vs. a government official meant that the EP has far more power over administering Mt. Athos than the general public is led to believe.

If I go to Athos' Administrative office who refuses me entry to Athos but if I go to Istanbul and receive permission from the EP for a lengthy stay, I would wonder why the two entities aren't in any synch?   Huh

How about one who is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate?  If He wishes to visit Athos and stay as long as he wants, whose rules would he abide by?  The Administrative office or the EP who declared him to be an Archon?   Huh
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« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2009, 01:49:32 AM »

The EP's authority at the essential level is that of a Bishop over his monasteries.  The jurisdiction of the EP over the Holy Mountain is probably due to the close imperial ties to the region during its great expansion (otherwise, it should probably be under the Archbishop of Thessaloniki or someone like that).

There have been periods when Athos was under Thessaloniki.
...and Thessaloniki is under the EP.....
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« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2009, 01:51:33 AM »

Quote
I believe that the EP and the Greek Government co-administer Athos which is the reason I'm curious about the rules being different if one asks the EP for a permit vs. asking the Athos Offices for a shorter permit.  If the EP outranks the Greek Government, then He is a political ruler and suddenly, the direct comparisons to the Pope can be made....

Nothing like a good bit of scandal-mongering.  Lord forbid that a bishop have more authority in a monastery than the government.

We all know how the EP almost excommunicated the Church of Greece over territorial issues - only the Greek Government prevented Schism at the 11th Hour.
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« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2009, 02:01:11 AM »

There have been periods when Athos was under Thessaloniki.
...and Thessaloniki is under the EP.....

As is the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, but that does not mean that Constantinople can get involved with your Greek Australian monasteries (or maybe it does?  can the EP issue orders to your monasteries? it is something that no one has mentioned before.)

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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2009, 02:17:54 AM »

As is the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, but that does not mean that Constantinople can get involved with your Greek Australian monasteries (or maybe it does?  can the EP issue orders to your monasteries? it is something that no one has mentioned before.)
There are currently no Patriarchal Stavropegial monasteries in Australia, however the Holy Monastery of St. Irene Chrysovolantu in Astoria, New York is an example of a Patriarchal Stavropegial Monastery in another jurisdiction; and as such, it falls under the direct Omorphion of the Ecumenical Patriarch rather than the local Bishop. All 20 Monasteries of the Holy Mountain are Patriarchal Stavropegial monasteries.
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« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2009, 03:39:58 AM »

All 20 Monasteries of the Holy Mountain are Patriarchal Stavropegial monasteries.

The monasteries chafe under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch.

In recent decades most of the monasteries have refused to commemorate the Patriarch  -

- when he wanted to force them to use the Gregorian calendar (1924)
- when he lifted the 900-year-old anathemas against the Roman Catholic Church (1965).

Almost 50% of the monks live outside the monasteries, in the "deserts" and sketes and kellia and the majoriy of these monks are non-commemorators. 


Cessation of commemoration on Mt Athos?

Take a look at the message from the monasteries to the Patriarch after the Pope's visit to Constantinople.

This is message Number 9

http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?t=3480

Also look at messasge Number 1 which is a letter from the skete dwelling monks asking for a cessation of commemoration of the Patriarch.

These actions by the Athonite fathers were as recent as December 2006.  Patriarchal authority on the Mountain sits uneasily with the monks.
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« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2009, 04:37:22 AM »

The monasteries chafe under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch.
Father, please forgive me for this, but this is a value judgement, not a statement of fact. The Holy Monasteries do not "chafe" under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I have stayed in five of the Holy Monasteries, and heard a range of opinions.

In recent decades most of the monasteries have refused to commemorate the Patriarch  -

- when he wanted to force them to use the Gregorian calendar (1924)

(A) No one in the Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian Calendar. They use either the Julian or Revised Julian Calendar.

(B)
The Revised Julian Calendar was never imposed on the Holy Mountain. The monks were protesting it's general introduction, however, they were never required to follow it.


Almost 50% of the monks live outside the monasteries, in the "deserts" and sketes and kellia and the majoriy of these monks are non-commemorators. 
This is not true. Firstly, hermits do not approach anywhere near 50% of the monastic population of Athos.
Secondly, all sketes and kellia on the Holy Mountain are associated with monasteries. There is no such thing as an "independant skete or kellion" on Mount Athos. For example, St. Anne's Skete belongs to the Great Lavra, the Kellion of St.s Constantine & Helen belongs to Vatopedi etc., and as such, all the Sketes and Kellia are also under the Jursidiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This was the very reason that the ROCOR monks who moved in to the Skete the Prophet Elijah (founded by St. Paisy Velichkovsky and belonging to Pantocrator) were evicted- because they refused to be under the omorphion of the Ecumenical Patriarch choosing instead to be under their own ROCOR Bishop. 

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« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2009, 05:20:25 AM »

(A) No one in the Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian Calendar. They use either the Julian or Revised Julian Calendar.

Grin  ..... the Gregorian Calendar and the "Revised Julian" are absolutely, totally identical right now and will remain so for the next 800 years.  Not a skerrick of a difference.

In the year 2800 they will begin to differ by one day, because 2800 is a leap year for the Gregorian but not for the "Revised Julian."

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« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2009, 05:34:30 AM »

The monasteries chafe under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch.
Father, please forgive me for this, but this is a value judgement, not a statement of fact. The Holy Monasteries do not "chafe" under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. I have stayed in five of the Holy Monasteries, and heard a range of opinions.

Their repeated statements of protest over the behaviour of the Patriarch in the ecumenical and ecclesiological-theological arenas suggest that the value judgement is not without value.

The number of monks in monasteries and those not in monasteries?   I have not seen any hard figures for this, I must admit.
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« Reply #29 on: January 26, 2009, 05:48:56 AM »

- when he wanted to force them to use the Gregorian calendar (1924)


1924.  All of Athos, with the exception of the Monastery of Vatopedi (who accepted the new calendar from 1924-1971), collectively ceased commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch.

1927. The Patriarchate negotiated a "compromise" with the Athonites that was accepted-but not by all the Mount Athos monasteries and not by  all the Mount Athos monks. The Patriarchate assured the monks that the calendar was to be reconsidered in an upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council.  The monks were persuaded to resume commemorating the Ecumenical Patriarch, pending the resolution of the calendar question by a Pan-Orthodox Council.   The Pan Orthodox council was never convened.

1971. A special session of the governing representative body of Mount Athos—was convened. This special session resolved that:

"On the issue of resuming the commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, each Holy Monastery, as a self-governing entity, is to remain free to choose a course of action according to its conscience."

Esphigmenou, St Paul and Xenophontos continued not to commemorate the Patriarch but the last two resumed commemoration when the Patriarch replaced their abbots.
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« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2009, 05:58:18 AM »

[treatments about blowing the monastery up,

If memory serves this was never a threat by the monastery but a rumour started by some newspaper.

Quote
infamous "Orthodoxy or death" flag,

There was an understandable reason for this flag when you know the history.

In 1974 there was an attempt to remove Esphigmenou's abbot and some of the senior monks.  To add teeth to this threat the military Junta then governing Greece sent a warship to sit just off the monastery and enforcing a sea blockade and they also surrounded the monastery with marines on land.   

The monks were not intimidated by these military threats and it was then that they hung out the "Orthodoxy or Death" flag facing the warship.

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« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2009, 06:09:55 AM »

1971. A special session of the governing representative body of Mount Athos—was convened. This special session resolved that:

"On the issue of resuming the commemoration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, each Holy Monastery, as a self-governing entity, is to remain free to choose a course of action according to its conscience."


This statement is very important.  It is compelling evidence that, at the higest administrative level, the Athonite monasteries do not consider themselves under obedience to the Ecumenical Patriarch.  If they did, they could never compose and issue such a resolution allowing the Holy Monasteries not to commemorate him.

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« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2009, 09:51:20 AM »

If memory serves this was never a threat by the monastery but a rumour started by some newspaper.


That's new to me. I didn't known that it was just a canard.

I've heard that Orthodoxy or death motto stands for: became Orthodox unless you want to spend eternity in hell - it's about afterlife not present life on Earth. Sadly by majority of people it's understood as a threat like give the purse or I'll kill you said by a robber. From that reason it shouldn't be used.

In my opinion if in Greek law stands that monks who don't obey the patriarch of Constantinople mustn't stay at Athos Greek government had right to use all means to retrieve the monastery and give it back to proper owners.
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« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2009, 10:56:39 AM »

If memory serves this was never a threat by the monastery but a rumour started by some newspaper.




I've heard that Orthodoxy or death motto stands for: became Orthodox unless you want to spend eternity in hell - it's about afterlife not present life on Earth. Sadly by majority of people it's understood as a threat like give the purse or I'll kill you said by a robber. From that reason it shouldn't be used.


Orthodoxy or death means, we will stay Orthodox or we OURSELVES will accept death.

If memory serves correctly, it refers back to the Zographou martyrs, who were killed by the Crusaders on the orders of the Unionist Patriarch Michael VIII because they resisted the Union of Lyons.
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« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2009, 11:30:33 AM »

This statement is very important.  It is compelling evidence that, at the higest administrative level, the Athonite monasteries do not consider themselves under obedience to the Ecumenical Patriarch.  If they did, they could never compose and issue such a resolution allowing the Holy Monasteries not to commemorate him.

The question is then begged: under which bishop would they consider themselves under?  It's not enough to separate oneself from your bishop if you believe he is in heresy - you have to have a bishop to take you in; you cannot be in the Church without any bishops!

By the way, just because the governing body says that it has the authority, it isn't necessarily true, no more than a child saying that they're no longer under the control of their parents; thankfully, in Orthodoxy, they do have such recourse to do that if he is in heresy, but the self-declaration isn't proof per se of such separation.  And, of course, they still nee to have a Bishop over them.
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« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2009, 03:54:53 PM »

[In my opinion if in Greek law stands that monks who don't obey the patriarch of Constantinople mustn't stay at Athos Greek government had right to use all means to retrieve the monastery and give it back to proper owners.


Greek law does not state that.

If it did the Patriarch could have removed ALL the monks on several occasions.

Monks can be removed from the Holy Mountian only when deemed to be heretical.  At that stage the Greek civil authorities can be asked to remove them.

As we have seen, in 1971 the Athonite authorities gave all monasteries the option of commemorating the Patriarch or not.  None of them were removed from the Holy Mountain for this official act of "disobedience."
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« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2009, 04:02:05 PM »

This statement is very important.  It is compelling evidence that, at the higest administrative level, the Athonite monasteries do not consider themselves under obedience to the Ecumenical Patriarch.  If they did, they could never compose and issue such a resolution allowing the Holy Monasteries not to commemorate him.

The question is then begged: under which bishop would they consider themselves under?  It's not enough to separate oneself from your bishop if you believe he is in heresy - you have to have a bishop to take you in; you cannot be in the Church without any bishops!

By the way, just because the governing body says that it has the authority, it isn't necessarily true, no more than a child saying that they're no longer under the control of their parents; thankfully, in Orthodoxy, they do have such recourse to do that if he is in heresy, but the self-declaration isn't proof per se of such separation.  And, of course, they still nee to have a Bishop over them.

The "mood" on the Holy Mountain is one of the freedom of the Gospels, allied with a refusal to compromise the Orthodx faith.  It's unique.  OzGeorge would be able to speak of this.  The monks would be quite content to sit out the interim period of being out of communion with an heretical bishop while they wait for God to correct matters.

This is quite realistic of them.  Their past history tells them that they have been right when they refused to commemorate a Patriarch.  And they were right to simply wait for better days and the arrival of an Orthodox bishop again.
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« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2009, 04:08:21 PM »

This statement is very important.  It is compelling evidence that, at the higest administrative level, the Athonite monasteries do not consider themselves under obedience to the Ecumenical Patriarch.  If they did, they could never compose and issue such a resolution allowing the Holy Monasteries not to commemorate him.

The question is then begged: under which bishop would they consider themselves under?  It's not enough to separate oneself from your bishop if you believe he is in heresy - you have to have a bishop to take you in; you cannot be in the Church without any bishops!

By the way, just because the governing body says that it has the authority, it isn't necessarily true, no more than a child saying that they're no longer under the control of their parents; thankfully, in Orthodoxy, they do have such recourse to do that if he is in heresy, but the self-declaration isn't proof per se of such separation.  And, of course, they still nee to have a Bishop over them.


The "mood" on the Holy Mountain is one of the freedom of the Gospels, allied with a refusal to compromise the Orthodx faith.  It's unique.  OzGeorge would be able to speak of this.  The monks would be quite content to sit out the interim period of being out of communion with an heretical bishop while they wait for God to correct matters.

This is quite realistic of them.  Their past history tells them that they have been right when they refused to commemorate a Patriarch.  And they were right to simply wait for better days and the arrival of an Orthodox bishop again.

Sorry for the joke father, but we now have a bunch of Protestants on the holy mountain. laugh
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« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2009, 04:23:20 PM »

By the way, just because the governing body says that it has the authority, it isn't necessarily true, no more than a child saying that they're no longer under the control of their parents.
Dear Cleveland,

I find that really insulting to the body of monks who have been elected by all the monasteries to represent them.  These are mature monks who have been on the Mountain for decades, labouring in the ascetic life.  These are wise monks.  In many cases these are holy monks.  To accuse them of being in some kind of childish disobedience to authority is really distasteful.

It is also a little bizzare, since obedience is the foundational virtue of the monastic life and these monks are thoroughly stepped in obedience.  It is the air that they breathe.
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« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2009, 04:26:40 PM »

Sorry for the joke father, but we now have a bunch of Protestants on the holy mountain. laugh

It is kind of hard to believe that there are Greek Orthodox dissing the Athonite fathers. Shocked
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« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2009, 04:31:01 PM »


The question is then begged: under which bishop would they consider themselves under?  It's not enough to separate oneself from your bishop if you believe he is in heresy - you have to have a bishop to take you in; you cannot be in the Church without any bishops!

First of all, I think that is a debatable point the more I think about it. In a persecution situation, one may not know where there is an Orthodox bishop to commemorate. Should one thus not liturgize? Commemorating "all Orthodox bishops" as a temporary situation might be the prudent thing to do.

That being said, the Esphigmenou monks are "under" or "with" (depending on how you look at it) Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the GOC (my Archbishop).  The problem is that Esphigmenou belongs to the (following the logic) widowed diocese of Constantinople.  Archbishop Chrysosotmos II is the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece (GOC).  He does not claim to be the locum tenens of the other throne, so he can't really be commemorated in the liturgy. But he's not about to go claim to be locum tenens of Constantinople because a) we don't have anyone in Constantinople that I know of b) we are not trying to set up some sophmoric rivalry.  Our ecclesiastical structure is to minister to those in resistance more than an attempt to create some parallel church in every corner of the world.

So basically, for the time being, the situation will continue to be sticky.
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« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2009, 04:55:06 PM »

First of all, I think that is a debatable point the more I think about it. In a persecution situation, one may not know where there is an Orthodox bishop to commemorate. Should one thus not liturgize? Commemorating "all Orthodox bishops" as a temporary situation might be the prudent thing to do.

That being said, the Esphigmenou monks are "under" or "with" (depending on how you look at it) Archbishop Chrysostomos II of the GOC (my Archbishop).  The problem is that Esphigmenou belongs to the (following the logic) widowed diocese of Constantinople.  Archbishop Chrysosotmos II is the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece (GOC).  He does not claim to be the locum tenens of the other throne, so he can't really be commemorated in the liturgy. But he's not about to go claim to be locum tenens of Constantinople because a) we don't have anyone in Constantinople that I know of b) we are not trying to set up some sophmoric rivalry.  Our ecclesiastical structure is to minister to those in resistance more than an attempt to create some parallel church in every corner of the world.

So basically, for the time being, the situation will continue to be sticky.

While I disagree with their position and logic, at least they have a bishop they answer to; that's what I wanted to know.
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« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2009, 05:04:18 PM »

Quote
While I disagree with their position and logic, at least they have a bishop they answer to; that's what I wanted to know.

But, cleveland, the canonicity of said bishop is open to question.  There's the rub.
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« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2009, 05:07:39 PM »

Quote
While I disagree with their position and logic, at least they have a bishop they answer to; that's what I wanted to know.

But, cleveland, the canonicity of said bishop is open to question.  There's the rub.

Not to answer for Cleve but I believe his question is how could it be legitimate to be under NO bishop, not whether it is permissible (theoretically) to invoke Canon 15 of the 1st-2nd and break communion with a heretic bishop.
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« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2009, 05:14:06 PM »

But, cleveland, the canonicity of said bishop is open to question.  There's the rub.

As long as they're obedient to a bishop, they're fine; on the one hand, their fears could be true, and in this case they've allied themselves with an Orthodox bishop; on the other hand, their fears are unfounded, and they're still technically under the jurisdiction of the EP.  In either case, they're making a good faith effort to be under a bishop and, thus, still in the Church.
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