Reply from Athos

The Holy Community of Mount Athos reacted somewhat tardily to what it called a «systematic disinformation campaign.» The community rebuts the Esphigmenou monks’ claims alleging that the «greatest campaign of falsehood in the history of Mount Athos» is under way. «Nobody is being persecuted; there is no issue of belief involved; nobody is being accused in connection with commemorating the ecumenical patriarch; nobody’s belief is being punished; nobody’s religious freedom or human rights are being encroached upon. No violence is being employed; no exclusion is being implemented; nobody is being endangered, inconvenienced or deprived of food, medicine or medical care.» The ecumenical patriarch and the Holy Community do not think the Esphigmenou issue is one of spiritual disagreement but that the monks are contravening the constitution by which the Mount Athos community has operated for hundreds of years, and therefore they have no place on the Athos peninsula. «For 30 years in this monastery there has been not simply an objection to the ecclesiastical policy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate or an interruption in commemorating it, as has occurred in other monasteries, but a complete break away from the other monasteries on the Holy Mountain, from all orthodox churches and joining and exclusively communicating with only one of the many parties of so-called genuine Orthodox Christians,» states the Holy Community.

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