Monks at Mount Athos monastery defy eviction order

A group of monks at the Esphigmenou Monastery in the monastic community of Mount Athos in northern Greece, on Monday defied an eviction order and chased bailiffs off the peninsula by hurling petrol bombs at them.

“The monks of Esphigmenou Monastery who are in the residential quarters and are in a defense position to defend it, threw some objects from inside out. We are expecting the intervention of the prosecutor from Thessaloniki. We are expecting the police to offer a political peaceful and calm solution, otherwise things will happen that will blacken Greece’s image abroad,” a spokesperson for the rebel monks, Iraklis Moraitis, told the state-run Athens-Macedonia New Agency.

The monks of Esphigmenou Monastery have been declared an illegal brotherhood by the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, over a dispute regarding improving ties with the Catholic Church, which the monks vehemently oppose.

In 2002 Vartholomeos ordered their eviction from the 10th century Mount Athos monastery.

Moraitis on Monday said that the eviction order delivered to them last week was aimed at having them vacate the premises so that the management of the monastic community can get its hands on the monastery’s assets.

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