Arrest of rebel Mount Athos abbot suspended


A Thessaloniki appeals court has suspended a decision calling for the immediate arrest of the rebel abbot of Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos, northern Greece, pending his appeal.

Methodios and another monk had been handed 20-year prison sentences after being found guilty earlier in the year of throwing Molotov cocktails at bailiffs attempting to execute an eviction order at the monastery’s administrative offices in Karyes in July 2013. 

But authorities never acted on the order for his incarceration issued in January.

Police say they never received the green light from the government for his arrest amid fears of violence, while Methodios has declared he will only leave the monastery if he’s dead.

Monastery monks, who have been involved in a years-long dispute with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, have defied court orders to leave to allow Church-appointed replacements to move in.