Vatopedi shock for Ieronymos

The head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, said he was «astounded» by the controversial land deal between the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos and the state. «I am astounded by everything that has been published and I have total faith in the justice system,» said Ieronymos on Saturday when questioned about the deal, which allegedly left taxpayers short-changed. The monastic community comes under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul and, as such, Ieronymos is powerless to take any action. «The Church of Greece has no authority over Mount Athos, just at Mount Athos has no authority over the Church of Greece,» he said. This did not stop the head of the Cypriot church, Chrysostomos, from encouraging Vatopedi's head monk, Ephraim, who is from Cyprus, to return any property that the monastery did not obtain «at a reasonable price.»