Rebel monks want damages

Rebel monks want damages

The legal brotherhood of monks in charge of the 1,000-year-old Esphigmenou Monastery in the self-governed monastic community of Mount Athos, near Thessaloniki, are demanding more than 3 million euros from the Greek state to compensate for damage wrought by some 100 fundamentalist monks who occupied the site in the 1970s and have remained there ever since.

The trial was set to take place on Wednesday in Thessaloniki, but was postponed again – this time until January 12.

The legal brotherhood was formed by the Istanbul-based ecumenical patriarch, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, to replace the rebels who have been declared schismatics by the Orthodox Church.

The rebels are in a bitter dispute with Patriarch Vartholomaios, whom they call a traitor for forging closer ties with the Catholic Church. They have also cut all ties with the “papist puppet authorities of the Athonite Community,” which is under the patriarch’s jurisdiction.

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