"Our battle is for truth and the true Orthodox way of life, which the Patriarch is attempting to silence." Abbot Methodios, AP/CNN

ESPHIGMENOU MONASTERY - MOUNT ATHOS 

iera monh esfigmenou - agion oros

Under Persecution!

Breaking News –

SEPTEMBER 28, 2017

 

MT. ATHOS, GREECE - Greek police once again descended upon Mount Athos as part of their ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation of the peaceful monks of Esphigmenou Monastery. Monks who were peacefully picking grapes at the monastery vineyards were accosted by police and threatened with arrest. This is just the latest incident of abuse of these defenseless monks at the hands of the Greek government.  The Greek government has already blockaded the delivery of food to the monastery and prohibited doctors from visiting ailing monks, and now they are stopping them from picking food for sustenance from their own lands. 

 

For Immediate Release:

February 05, 2017

Contact: John Rigas, Friends of Esphigmenou Tel: +1-617-524-4724

media@esphigmenou.com

Friends of Esphigmenou plan rally in Ouranoupolis to protest monks prison sentence

Call Upon International Human Rights Community to Help Defenseless Monks

 

THESSALONIKI, GREECE – On Sunday Feb 5, supporters of Esphigmenou Monastery will gather at the Port of Ouranoupolis in Northern Greece to protest the ever escalating persecution of the monks of Eshpigmenou. Last week, in a miscarriage of justice seen only in banana republics and totalitarian regimes, Abbot Methodios was found guilty in absentia of “incitement” and sentenced to 20 years in prison, without possibility of release while on appeal. The court also sentenced several other monks to 10 years in prison.

 

The Greek Government now has imminent plans to raid the monastery to seize and imprison the abbot and monks.

 

“We call upon the Greek government to refrain from violent actions and to let us pray in peace as we have for over 1,500 years,” said Abbot Methodios of Esphigmenou Monastery. “We also ask all people of goodwill to support us in our struggle for religious liberty, and to allow our over 105 brothers to live our lives in peace and in prayerful contemplation, rather than under constant persecution by the government.”

 

The Esphigmenou Monastery has been involved in a long-running dispute with the Greek government, which has tried to evict the peaceful monks from their monastery home. The Greek government has gone so far as to impose blockade of food, medical supplies and even doctors in an effort to force the monks out of their home of 1,500 years. Greece has been cited for its actions against the monks in the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report.

 

Supporters plan to protest the recent judge’s decision to issue 20 year prison sentences against the abbot.

 

The Greek government’s most recent act of legal corruption has been to engage in state-sponsored identity theft to confiscate the land and buildings the monastery has owned and occupied for more than 1500 years and grant them to another entity and then declare the monks trespassers. The Greek Government is now poised to once again escalate the situation and employ violence by sending in armed police to imprison the monks who know no other home than this monastery.

 

More information can be found at www.esphigmenou.com and on Twitter @esphigmenou.

Friends of Esphigmenou Monastery

35 Orchard St.

Boston, MA 02130

For information regarding the protest in Ouranoupolis contact: Ioannis Kolokithas in Greece at (+30) 6972291676

www.esphigmenou.com

media@esphigmenou.com

Abbot Methodios message on current situation (Greek)


 

For Immediate Release:

February 04, 2017

Contact: John Rigas, Friends of Esphigmenou

media@esphigmenou.com

ARMED GREEK RIOT POLICE POISED TO RAID AND SEIZE ABBOT OF ESPHIGMENOU MONASTERY

Call Upon International Human Rights Community to Help Defenseless Monks

 

THESSALONIKI, GREECE – Today Esphigmenou monastery has learned that the Greek government is planning to raid the peaceful monastic community in order to arrest and imprison their Abbot Methodios. Last week, in a miscarriage of justice seen only in banana republics and totalitarian regimes, Abbot Methodios was wrongly found guilty of “incitement” and sentenced to 20 years in prison, without possibility of release while on appeal. The court also sentenced several other monks to 10 years in prison.

The Greek Government now has imminent plans to raid the monastery to seize and imprison the abbot and monks.

“We call upon the Greek government to refrain from violent actions and to let us pray in peace as we have for over 1,500 years,” said Abbot Methodios of Esphigmenou Monastery. “We also ask all people of goodwill to support us in our struggle for religious liberty, and to allow our over 105 brothers to live our lives in peace and in prayerful contemplation, rather than under constant persecution by the government.”

The Esphigmenou monastery has been involved in a long-running dispute with the Greek government, which has tried to evict the peaceful monks from their monastery home. The Greek government has gone so far as to impose a barbaric blockade of food, water, medical supplies and even doctors in an effort to starve the monks out of their home of 1,500 years. Greece has been cited for its actions against the monks in the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report.

The latest charges and cruel and unusual prison sentences stem from a brutal 2014 raid the government made on the peaceful monastery. In that raid, the government employed a steel bulldozer in order to flatten a door, behind which several monks were seeking shelter. The charges now brought by the government result from the hapless attempts the monks made to defend themselves from being crushed to death by that government operated bulldozer.

“The Greek government has committed despicable acts of aggression and violence against the peaceful Esphigmenou monks, and these actions must cease immediately,” said John Rigas of Friends of Esphigmenou. To add insult to injury, the government has now sought to imprison the monks for the pathetic attempts the unarmed monks made to defend their lives. “We ask the international human rights community to join us, just as the U.S. State Department has in previous years in condemning these actions. The Greek government cannot get away with persecuting its own citizens over a religious difference of opinion.”

Over 25 monks have already died while the government imposed blockade has been in place. Tomorrow’s anticipated acts of government violence are simply the latest in the non-stop campaign of harassment and intimidation in recent years by the Greek government against the peaceful monks. The monks of Esphigmenou ask for the support and prayers of people of goodwill during this difficult time, and send their holy Blessings to all.

The dispute with the Greek government stems from a disagreement the monks have had with Patriarch Bartholomew of Istanbul, Turkey. Patriarch Bartholomew has pressured to Greek government to take action against the monks, whom he has personally decided are schismatic. The monks have requested dialogue with him in order to resolve this dispute in a peaceful and brotherly manner, but he has refused. He has instead used the Greek government as a weapon against his fellow Orthodox Christians.

The Greek government’s most recent act of legal corruption has been to engage in state-sponsored identity theft to steal the land and buildings the monastery has owned and occupied for more than 1500 years and transfer them to another entity and then declare the monks trespassers. The Greek Government is now poised to once again escalate the situation and employ violence by sending in armed police to imprison the monks who know no other home than this monastery.

The monks and their supporters continue to pray for peace and for cooler heads to prevail in the Greek government. “Why don’t they just leave them alone? All they want to do is to be left alone to pray in peace.” said John Rigas of Friends of Esphigmenou. “They are literally bothering no one. They are monks.”

More information can be found at www.esphigmenou.com and on Twitter @esphigmenou.

Friends of Esphigmenou Monastery

www.esphigmenou.com

media@esphigmenou.com

 

John Rigas, Phone: 617-524-4724

Fax: 617-524-7142

Video: Abbott Methodios interview on court case (Greek)


February 1, 2017

Thessalonika, Greece – This week the Greek court in Thessalonika has unjustly sentenced Abbott Methodios of Esphigmenou monastery on Mount Athos, a historic 1500 year old monastic community, to 20 years in prison and sentenced several monks of the monastery to 10 years in prison for crimes they never committed.  The government continues to attempt to unethically and immorally remove them from the monastery which is their only home.  This is a continuation of the years-long campaign of official harassment and intimidation being perpetrated against the peaceful monks by the Greek Government.  Once we obtain the official court documents outlining what fabricated charges have been brought against the monks, we will post them here.  In the meantime we ask supporters of the monastery to call and email Prime Minister Tsipras to demand that these actions against the monastery cease immediately, and vacate these cruel and unjust sentences against peaceful monks of Mount Athos. Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos has the ability to reverse these unjust sentences and we demand he do so immediately. 


October 23, 2011

Russian intervention on Mt. Athos on behalf of Esphigmenou Monastery: Patriarchate has sent representative to The Holy Mountain to examine why Esphimgenou Monastery is still being persecuted for reasons of faith. 

FRONT PAGE STORY IN SUNDAY EDITION OF ATHENS NEWSPAPER, "ELETHERI ORA"

"Russian Patriachate's interest in the Esphingmenou Monastery situation"

Please write and call Mr. Kontzas, the Foreign Minister of Greece, under whose ultimate authority the Civil Administration and Greek Police in Mount Athos enforce the blockade and demand an immediate end to these inhuman actions.  Please also e-mail the Ecumenical Patriarch and ask him to end his Un-Christian actions and show love toward the monks of Esphigmenou.  

1

Mr. Tsipras

Prime Minister of Greece   

E-mail:  dialogue@politicalforum.gr

 Private office tel: +30-210-338-5491Fax: +30-210-323-8129 

2

Mr. Kontzas

Foreign Minister   

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 Tel: +30-210-368-1000Fax: +30-210-368-14335 Vassilissis Sophias Av, 106 71 Athens

 

  

Foreign Minister contact form

    

3

Patriarch Bartholomew

http://www.patriarchate.org/contact

E-mail:  Patriarchate@ec-patr.org

 Tel: +90-212-635-4501 (office) or +90-212-531-9670 (main#)Main Fax. +90-212-534-9037 Office Fax +90-212-525-6429 

MARCH 24, 2011

During this holy Lenten period of the year, the fathers of Esphigmenou monastery have attempted to focus on prayer for world peace and tranquility. However, the imposter monks and Greek government have been busy with a sustained campaign of persecution through threats and arrests.

Yesterday, a layperson chopping wood on monastery property for Esphigmenou Monastery, was accosted and threatened with arrest after the imposter monks reported him to the Greek Police. Again earlier this month, at the behest of the imposter monastery, assistant Abbott Fr. Gregory was arrested and expelled from Mt. Athos while in Karyes on his way to church.  Fr. Gregory was falsely charged with being on Mt. Athos illegally.

Instead of praying for peace and harmony on Mt. Athos and the world, the imposter monks have been busy once again creating an atmosphere of fear and intolerance.  We need only to look back at the sledgehammer attack on the peaceful Esphigmenou monks by the imposters to know their true intentions. (Esphigmenou building being attacked with sledgehammers by imposter monks of Patriarch Bartholomew)

With all of the economic and civil problems currently facing the Greek Government, why do they continue to waste resources on persecuting these poor defenseless monks who are not harming anyone? According to a study on corruption by Transparency International in 2010, Greece is among the most corrupt nations in the world, ranked behind Rwanda, and just above Malawi.

We ask for your prayers and support. Please call the authorities on Mt. Athos, your government authorities and the Greek Government to protest these Un-Christian acts. 

 

November 29, 2010

BBC Reports: Greece wastes taxpayer dollars persecuting Esphigmenou Monastery:

  Watch BBC Report  


"Therefore, we urge you... to act in consort with all the state assets and those in charge of Mount Athos and elsewhere, to move against them, and to discreetly expel them from this place (Mt. Athos)...." Patriarch Bartholomew  Complete document

"If these vessels are being used by the illegal occupiers of the main complex of buildings of the Monastery, or, are in any way providing services for them, even if by a third party, we ask that their approach to the Monastery be prohibited and blockaded with all means (at your disposal),...."  Archimandrite Chrysostomos- (Abbott of imposter Esphigmenou Monastery) Complete document

December 2010

 

During the Holy Christmas Season The Holy Royal Esphigmenou Monastery and Abbott Father Methodios wish all a blessed and Holy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year 2011.

 

We wish to thank all those who have supported our just cause and want them to know we pray for them every day at the Holy Liturgy.  We are indebted to all of you, throughout the world for your support in our common cause for the Orthodox faith.  We want you to know that the persecution of the monastery and the fathers continues.  As you may know, we have been dragged into the secular courts to face familiar trumped up charges of illegally occupying our monastery.  The struggle continues. 

 

Glory to God for all things, through the prayers of our most Holy Lady Theotokos we will survive this trial also.

(AP photos above are pictures taken of the events, clearly showing police rough handling of Esphigmenou monks).

"Greek Police bar pilgrims from attending chruch service"

ATHENS, Greece, May 27, 2009 - Police and coast guard officials said they were on alert Wednesday in the wake of Greek Orthodox pilgrims near Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos, Greece.

Officials were on stand-by in the ancient cities of Ouranoupolis and Ierissos as a result of Tuesday's decision by Greek police to bar nearly 35 pilgrims who were trying to attend church for Ascension, a major Holiday on the Orthodox Calendar, and the feast day for the church at Esphigmenou Monastery.

Since the siege began in 2003, pilgrims have been invited by Abbott Methodios to attend services at Esphigmenou.  Pilgrims are drawn to Mt. Athos and Esphigmenou Monastery as it is the idyllic place of prayer, a world within a world; an ancient, peaceful, community that is world renowned for monastic life.  However each attempt to attend church services at Esphigmenou Monastery by peaceful pilgrims are met by agitated Greek Police, (and backed by the Greek Government) who physically and sometimes violently turn them back.  Multiple attempts have been made to reach the monastery over the years and nearly all have been met with violence. 

More news coverage on May 27 events:

Original UPI story

Kathimerini - Letter to the Editor on Esphigmenou 

Original Kathimerini.com story

Additional History:

 

Clashes at Esphigmenou Kathimerini article

  Click here to see the excerpt from the State Department's International Religious Freedom Report regarding Esphigmenou.

"There is no more fundamental issue for the United States than freedom of religion and religious conscience. This country was founded on that basis, and it is at the heart of democracy."

Timeline 2005-2008