For Immediate Release: August 2, 2013
Contact: John Rigas, Friends of Esphigmenou, email@example.com
ELDERLY MONK ARRESTED FOR BRINGING FOOD TO ESPHIGMENOU MONKS
MT. ATHOS, GREECE -- Yesterday police arrested 68 year old Father Demetrios of Philotheou monastery after he and his 86 year old Elder Father Chrysostomos brought food to the besieged monks of Esphigmenou monastery in Karyes, Mt. Athos.
Members of the imposter brotherhood who had earlier this week perpetrated a violent assault on the Esphigmenou monastery building in Karyes with a bulldozer, notified the police and falsely accused the elderly monks of bringing illicit building materials to the besieged monks of Esphigmenou.
Police arrested 68 year old Father Demetrios and brought him to the police station where they detained him for several hours, reviewing all of his personal information to see if they could find a reason to deport him from Mt. Athos. They even went so far as to question whether he owed money to the Greek tax authorities! The 86 year old Elder Father Chrysostom only escaped arrest because he happened to be inside the small store in Karyes shopping for a few essential items when the police arrived to arrest the food-delivering perpetrators.
Father Demetrios told the police he was delivering food to the besieged monks, and that he would do the same for the police if they were in need. After several hours, he was released.
More than 80 armed Greek police surrounded the monastery building this week filled with peaceful monks who only want to be left alone to pray. The monks continue to pray for peace and ask for the prayers of the faithful and appeal to the Mother of God for protection.
According to heart surgeon Dr. Athanasios Papageorgiou, at least 25 monks at Esphigmenou have already died at the hands of the government while the police continue to enforce a blockade to prevent the delivery of food, medical supplies and even visits from medical doctors to see ailing and elderly monks. This doctor and a dentist have been prevented from seeing the monks and attending to their medical needs. This week one monk was almost killed when the steel blade of the bulldozer used in the violent assault pierced the building and came within 15 centimeters of impaling him.
The monks have requested dialog with Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul, Turkey, in the hopes of resolving this religious dispute, but have been rebuffed, and have instead been met with violent attacks by the brotherhood supported by Patriarch Bartholomew.
We call on the Greek government to protect the personal safety of the Esphigmenou monks and to stop wasting desperately needed taxpayer funds on persecuting these innocent monks.