Dissident monks of Esphigmenou Monastery claim persecution
The abbot of a Mount Athos monastery says its more than 120 Greek monks face food and medicine shortages because of the stance of the Orthodox Church, which considers them apostates and wants to evict them from their 1,000-year-old abode.
Abbot Methodios told reporters and a throng of faithful supporters in Thessaloniki northern Greek city that monks are getting sick and dying and that there is no doctor to diagnose their illnesses.
Methodios and his monks have effectively barricaded themselves inside the Esphigmenou monastery from which authorities want to evict them. They can only enter and exit the monastery surreptitiously.
The Esphigmenou monks have been critical of every Ecumenical Patriarch, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christians residing in Istanbul, since the 1960s for their dialogue with the Catholic Church.