Hegumen from Athos calls on Greek authorities to punish unvaccinated monks

11 November 2021 21:40
The hegumen of New Esphigmenou (centre, right) with representatives of the OCU. Photo: romfea.gr The hegumen of New Esphigmenou (centre, right) with representatives of the OCU. Photo: romfea.gr

Those monks from Mount Athos who do not agree to be vaccinated against the coronavirus were called "fanatics" by Hegumen Bartholomew.

The abbot of the Athonite Monastery New Esphigmenou demanded that the Greek Prosecutor's Office bring to justice the Athonite monks who refused to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, reports ertnews.gr.

The abbot of the New Esphigmenou Monastery of Athos, Archimandrite Bartholomew, who hosted Ukrainian schismatics from the OCU in his monastery, requested the Greek Prosecutor's Office to carry out "an investigation of monks who refuse to vaccinate and influence people from all over the country so that they do not receive vaccines."

“Why are we monks above the law? Can we move uncontrollably and do whatever we want when death spreads around us, not only on Mount Athos but all over the world? "

According to him, "what is happening cannot be ignored," especially at a time when only 40% of the monks of the monastic state are vaccinated.

“They have a great responsibility that affects people not to be vaccinated, and a spiritual and criminal responsibility, which so far Justice has not been addressed. Let Justice enter, let an investigation be carried out by a prosecutor,” hegumen Bartholomew said.

He is convinced that “ It is not a political issue whether some people try to politicize it, it is purely medical, which affects all people, it does not concern only a portion of the population. All people are dying from the pandemic."

Hegumen Bartholomew emphasized that "a purely medical issue has now been transformed into a spiritual one, while it cannot be considered as such an issue". The abbot called those monks who do not agree to be vaccinated against the coronavirus "fanatics" who "close their eyes, ears and nose so as not to see or hear anything except their point of view, which they want to impose by force".

“They are leading the world in the direction of fanaticism and intolerance. The characteristic traits of a fanatic are hatred and revenge. They do not tolerate opinions different from their own, and if a different opinion is heard, they react aggressively,” the abbot said. "I am accused of being a member of the Patriarch and the government because I talk about these issues," he added.
He also stated that the Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos " is under occupation. And these illegal people who live inside, while they have been convicted for their stay in the area of our Monastery, nevertheless act uncontrollably and go out. We have seen them take the lead in the anti-vaccination rallies, using our name of the Monastery of Esphigmenou".

The monks of the Esphigmenou Monastery (those who are called “old brethren” on Athos) consider themselves the canonical subject of the Ecumenical Patriarchate but do not recognize Patriarch Bartholomew, who currently occupies the Patriarchal Throne, as they believe that “he is an enemy of Orthodoxy”.

At the end of 2002, when the Patriarchate of Constantinople officially declared Esphigmenou's brethren (then 117 monks) schismatics, which, according to Greek law, entails expulsion from Athos, a decision on this was adopted by the court of Thessaloniki, and then by the Supreme Court of Greece. However, they could not expel the "old brethren" from the Esphigmenou Monastery.

Then, in 2005, a parallel community was created, which is called the "New Esphigmenou", the abbot of which is currently hegumen Bartholomew. This community is based in Karyes, and it is for it that the rights that previously belonged to Esphigmenou's "old brethren" are recognized.

As reported, the Greek authorities began to seize the real estate of the Athonite Monastery of Esphigmenou.

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