OPINION

Monks’ dispute at Esphigmenou provokes reactions

I am very disappointed that you have not reported the tragedy that occurred on Mount Athos between the monks of Esphigmenou and some monks that tried to take over the monastery with their Albanian workmen. The monks who tried to take over Esphigmenou were armed with pickaxes, spades and crowbars, and apparently a few monks from Esphigmenou were injured. I would really like it if you would cover this story in your paper, because this is a serious issue that needs addressing and the public needs to know about such issues.  DEMETRIOS (JAMES) KOUROS, Toronto, Canada. We are wondering why the Greek press does not accurately report the mistreatment of the monks of Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos. Specifically, we have heard no story regarding the beating of three monks at their administrative office at Karyes. We deplore the behavior of the henchmen of Patriarch Bartholomew [Vartholomaios], i.e. the monks of the Holy Mountain willing to beat up fellow monastics with whom they disagree, and to compound the problem by blaming Albanians, the common scapegoats of the Greeks. Also, since many (one tenth of the populace maybe?) Greek Orthodox citizens are old Calendrist, you may actually increase circulation by reporting on the ongoing mistreatment of the monks of Esphigmenou by the withholding of their medical supplies by the Greek government and the disconnection of their phone service. The Turks and Muslims receive better treatment! (Not that they should be treated badly, but they used to be enemies.) Now Orthodox Christians who have legitimate concerns about Patriarch Bartholomew and his policies are are treated like the early Christian martyrs, with the government and the press behaving as pagans. Please print all the news that’s fit for print, especially that concerning Greece. ELLA ELIZABETH MORAVEC, Pittsburgh, PA. Three fathers were injured in an attempt by monks, faithful to Patriarch Bartholomew, to take possession of the monastery’s administrative offices in Karyes. AP news covered this story as well as the Greek television channel ANT-1, but tried to whitewash this tragic event. ANT-1’s website does not mention at all that this incident was organized by monks faithful to Bartholomew but blames it all on a group of Albanians. The AP news release reports a bitter fight between Church authorities and a rebel monastery turned violent. They omitted the fact that the so-called Church authorities were a gang of monks and their Albanian workmen. It also falsely reports a police spokesman as saying nobody was injured in the clashes. The truth is that three fathers were injured. All monasteries on Mount Athos have an administrative office in the town of Karyes. Karyes is the administrative center of Mount Athos and representatives from all the monasteries are found on the administrative council. The representative of the Monastery of Esphigmenou has been expelled from this administrative council which supports the heretical Bartholomew. At the time of the attack there were eight fathers present when Bartholomew’s gang of monks attacked the fathers of Esphigmenou with pickaxes, spades and crowbars. The fathers could not use the office’s telephone because the Greek government had cut the telephone service to the office. As reported before, the local Greek authorities are not allowing medical supplies to be brought to the monastery. There are 15 fathers at the monastery who are old and ill and there will be a major crisis when existing medical supplies are exhausted. As usual, the Greek media is trying to bury this incident.  LINDA STAVROULLAKIS, via e-mail. We have recently learned of the outrageous attack on Esphigmenou monks that took place in the monastery’s administrative offices in Karyes but not through the internationally famous Greek newspaper Kathimerini. Why have you not covered this story? Is it not news when monks take up pickaxes and crowbars against fellow monks? ELISABETH GRAVES, via e-mail.