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Monks Resist Greek Monastery Eviction

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Monks Resist Greek Monastery Eviction
The Associated Press, Fri 17 Jan 2003

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Power and water have been cut, authorities
have halted supplies of food and medicine, and a deadline for forcible
eviction looms.

For now, though, more than 100 Greek Orthodox monks are resisting efforts to
force them from their 1,000-year-old monastery on a remote peninsula in the
Aegean Sea as punishment for their bitter opposition to reconciliation
between orthodox Christians and the Roman Catholic church.

Holding up a knotted rope rosary, the monastery's abbot, who goes by the
name Methodius, said the monks of the Esphigmenou Monastery would challenge
the eviction order in Greece's highest administrative court.

Methodius also vowed to appeal to a higher authority.

We will fight with our prayer beads,'' he told a news conference Thursday
in Thessaloniki, a port city about 80 miles west of Mount Athos, a peninsula
home to some two dozen monasteries.

The monks were ordered expelled for rejecting the authority of Eastern
Orthodox leadership. Members of the monastery condemned church leaders for
holding talks with Roman Catholics as part of a long-running effort to
reconcile the two main branches of Christianity.

Mount Athos, known as the Holy Mountain, is considered a spiritual cradle of
Orthodox Christianity, and its conservative monks are widely perceived as
being guardians of the faith.

The inhabitants of Esphigmenou are considered the most doctrinal of all the
2,000 or so monks living on Athos.

For decades, the monks have shown their opposition to any reconciliation
with Catholics by adorning their monastery with black flags and a giant
banner reading Orthodoxy or death.'' They have referred to the pope as a

Orthodox Christian Churches and the Roman Catholic Church have been
separated since the Great Schism of 1054 in a dispute over papal authority
and interpretation of their creed.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox
Christians, on Dec. 14 declared the ultraconservative monks at Esphigmenou
as schismatic.'' That decision allowed Mount Athos' Greek government
administrator to order their forcible eviction by Jan. 28.

It would be the largest-ever known eviction of monks from Mount Athos since
the community was founded more than 1,000 years ago. The last eviction, for
the same reasons, took place a decade ago and involved five monks living in
an isolated hermitage.

Since the eviction order was issued on Dec. 14, authorities have cut
electricity to the monastery and prevented the supply of food, heating oil
and medical supplies, Methodius said.

A legal adviser to the monks, Ifigenia Kamtsidou, said the men were not
given an opportunity to respond to the charges before the eviction order was

Constitutional procedures were not upheld,'' Kamtsidou said.

The monastery's first serious falling out with the ecumenical patriarchate
came in the mid-1960's, after Catholic and Orthodox leaders withdrew a
series of anathemas — or damnations — issued in 1054.

Dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholics began in earnest when
Bartholomew was elected patriarch in 1991. Travels by Pope Johan Paul II
have also helped promote contact between the churches.

Our battle is for truth and the true orthodox way of life, which the
patriarch is attempting to silence,'' Methodius said.

A mere handful of monks--100!--and the EP can barely disguise his fear of these "schismatiki?"

This whole scenario only wets my appetite to study this issue--in depth.

One thing is for certain:

Any pilgrim who knows an iota about Greece and the Greek people, also knows that there exists a small, but disciplined and ideologically driven, minority of 'true believers' who can create havoc for the EP on the Greek mainland and beyond by rallying their troops to the cause.

Like the Ottoman Turks--who on their better days merely removed rabble rousing monks from their monasteries, instead of removing their heads--the desperate Phanariotis results to high-handed methods to suppress diversity of opinion--not dogma or doctrine--within the Oekumene.

Ah, so much for the Phanariotis immersed--or is it enmeshed?--in the heady waters of the Enlightenment!


BTW: The Phanar has been the cause of many Athonite refugees seeking safe haven elsewhere for many years, now. But-in the past-most refugee monks have left in small numbers, therefore not drawing the attention of the media.

This is terrible. :( They should let the monastery be and live in peace.  This makes me cry and saddened about Orthodoxy when I hear things like this.  

--- Quote ---Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox
Christians, on Dec. 14 declared the ultraconservative monks at Esphigmenou
as schismatic.'' That decision allowed Mount Athos' Greek government
administrator to order their forcible eviction by Jan. 28.

--- End quote ---

This only lends credence to ROCOR's statements about Bartholomew.  Why is he doing this?  I don't like Bartholomew because I believe he is a modernist that is does not like traditional Orthodoxy.   The tactics employed by him are repulsive and unOrthodox.  He is not following the spirit of love.  Also, Patriarch Bartholomew is NOT the Orthodox version of the Pope.  Though he may think he is, he is not, and I wished that the media would stop spreading such a lie as that.  Archbishop John has a brilliant sermon about Constantinople, and how it is currently at its low point.  With Bartholomew's actions, he is disgracing it and bringing it to a new low.  Why is Bartholomew so threatend by a group of monks on an Aegen peninsula?

The young fogey:
Just what the world needs: another spectacle of a jurisdictional beard-pulling war, an internecine mud fight between two orthodox groups.

AFAIK Patriarch Bartholomew is still a world away from John Spong.

--- Quote ---Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians
--- End quote ---


Thank you, sinjin:

--- Quote ---Also, Patriarch Bartholomew is NOT the Orthodox version of the Pope.
--- End quote ---

Neo Tobiah:
The events are truly sad, and I have been waiting with fear as the news trickled in as to what was possibly going to be happening there. Now they have decided what they will do with the "renegades," and we may all rightly mourn.

But if I could give a word of encouragement, let us not mourn too long: for their is no authority in power except that which is in power by God's will. And who knows, perhaps this dispersing will have the same beneficial character as did the dispersing of the Christian community after the martyrdom of Saint Stephen. Before  this time the monks stood out as a beacon of orthodoxy to a few, and we few were very happy for their stand. But perhaps now, through their trials, they will become the spiritual salt for many more than they had been.


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