Zealot monks protest eviction

Ultra-Orthodox clerics, Old Calendrists and other religious zealots are to stage a rally in the northern town of Ouranoupolis today to protest a decision by the Mount Athos monastic community to evict some 100 zealot monks from the Esphigmenou Monastery. About 100 rebel monks are believed to be taking measures to avert a possible invasion of their brotherhood and to fortify their offices in Karyes. This follows a decision earlier this month by the other 19 Mount Athos monasteries to stealthily evict the Esphigmenou monks by creating another monastic community, declaring it the legal proprietor of Esphigmenou and locating it elsewhere temporarily. Protesters yesterday condemned «the unfair persecution being suffered by the Esphigmenou Monastery due to the anti-ecumenical and anti-unionist stance it has adopted according to Holy Tradition.» Mount Athos’s monastic community, backed by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, has been seeking the monks’ eviction since December 2002.