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Author Topic: Esphigmenou Monks Ordered Out By Court  (Read 1335 times) Average Rating: 0
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Irish Hermit
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Holy Father Patrick, pray for us

« on: March 21, 2005, 02:18:43 PM »

Court backs rebel monks’ ouster
Monday, March 21, 2005

Greece’s highest administrative court has rejected an appeal by a rebel Mount Athos abbot against an order, by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate, for his eviction from the 1,000-year-old Esphigmenou Monastery.

According to court sources quoted yesterday by the Athens News Agency, the Council of State ruled that it had no jurisdiction to decide whether Esphigmenou abbot Methodios was a schismatic who should leave the monastery, as the Patriarchate has declared. The court decided that, under Greece’s
constitution, the patriarchate has supreme spiritual authority over the semi-autonomous Mount Athos monastic community and is not subject to judicial scrutiny of such matters.

The eviction order, issued in December 2002, followed the ultra-Orthodox Esphigmenou monks’ persistent refusal to acknowledge the authority of Patriarch Vartholomaios, due to their opposition to his efforts to improve relations with the Catholic Church. The split dates to 1964, when the patriarch of the day, Athinagoras, met with Pope Paul VI. Orthodox zealots regard the pope as evil personified.

Methodios’s 90-odd followers in the monastery have been ordered out. They have appealed to the Council of State. The 2002 eviction order led to an eight-week police siege of the monastery, which was suspended pending the court process.



Wonder if the EU and its Courts has any authority in this matter?

After all, Greece is part of the EU and this could be argued to involve
human rights. Some of the elderly monks being evicted have lived at
Esphigmenou for 40 years and more. It is their only home. They have no
money and nowhere else to live.

It could also involve some interesting court arguments in the EU as to the
rights of a Turkish citizen, the Ecumenical Patriarch, in an EU country.
The EP would find no support from the Turkish Government which is as
determined as ever to refuse him the title of "Ecumenical" and to limit his
ecclesiastical authority to the small number (about 2,500) of Greek Orthodox
who remain in Turkey.

Would the Esphigmenou monks take their case to the EU? Or would they see it
as a part of the New World Order and the antichrist? Anyone know if they
have accepted any of the substantial EU grants which other Athonite
monasteries have taken and put to good use to repair their buildings?

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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2005, 02:33:24 AM »

I don't know what "standing" the monks would have at the EU court or whether it would even have jurisdiction.

I have usually come to the defense of the OEcumenical Patriarch on this forum, but in this case I am conflicted. Schism - even that of monks - is a terrible error, very rarely justified.
But, to recall a line from an old Star Trek movie, "Just because we CAN do something, does it follow that we SHOULD do that something?" The patriarch should lead by loving example, not the big stick.

"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2005, 12:34:06 AM »

Well, this happened before (and for basically the same reason; non commemoration of the EP) several years back, when the EP had the monks of St.Elias Skete (ROCOR) kicked off the Holy Mountain.

I think rather than first resorting to such tactics, the EP should send representatives to such non-commemorators, and demonstrate clearly why the reasons they have for not commemorating him are incorrect.  That would be interesting. Wink

Fr. George
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May the Lord bless you and keep you always!

« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2005, 01:51:34 AM »

The first 3 thoughts off the top of my head (and the heads of those around me):

1. Let's not assume that the EP hasn't attempted to communicate the point.

2. One of the basic principles of monasticism is obedience to those who have spiritual authority over you.  This is considered one of the sacred foundations to cenobitic monastic life.  Without it, spiritual and temporal order would be lost, and monasticism would unravel.

3. There are MULTIPLE canons that prohibit clerics from appealing decisions of spiritual matters to the secular courts - for good reason.  The state, especially the EU, has no interest in protecting the church (and in the EU's case, it seems clear to me that they, rather, would like to hurt our beloved Orthodox Church).

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Irish Hermit
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2005, 06:09:10 AM »

The state, especially the EU, has no interest in protecting the church (and in the EU's case, it seems clear to me that they, rather, would like to hurt our beloved Orthodox Church).

Be of good cheer, my son. Things are changing.

See the new article in the News section.
"Orthodox Impact on the EU and Western Europe"

Also several years ago the Moscow Patriarchate set up in Brussels what amounts to an Embassy to the European Union, the "Representation to the European Insititutions." This is headed by the capable young theologian and bishop, Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev)


Bishop Hilarion


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