NEWS

Monk killed by tractor in bid to dodge police

A monk from a rebel Mount Athos fraternity died on Saturday in a freak tractor accident while trying to evade police forces besieging his 1,000-year-old monastery. Brother Tryfon, 25, from the Esphigmenou Monastery, was crushed under the vehicle when it overturned during a nocturnal sortie. He had been driving with his lights off, to escape detection by officers who have cordoned off the monastery since January 28, when a deadline by Church and Mt Athos civil authorities for the 100-strong community to abandon the walled complex expired. Any monk caught leaving the grounds is liable to be expelled from Mt Athos. The Esphigmenou fraternity has been excommunicated by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate following a 30-year row over relations with the Catholic Church. Esphigmenou monks consider the patriarch a reprobate for trying to improve ties with the Vatican.