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.http://tinyurl.com/6s5q6
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?