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*PRESS RELEASE*:- Greek Government sentences Mt. Athos monks to 2 years in jail

Colin Revell | 22.10.2006 18:41 | Anti-racism | Repression | Social Struggles | World

Dear all

5 disabled monks have already died as a result of this blockade. See

They are being sentenced for "heresy" (as a result of their beliefs). They
are not actually "heretical" in True Orthodox Christian terms. It is their
accusers, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek Government who are.

Support the monks in maintaining their peaceful existence in the face of
state sponsored violence.


Adrian Whyatt ( )

Date: 13-Oct-2006 23:42
Subject: Greek Government sentences Mt. Athos monks to 2 years in jail

Hello Adrian,

Just wanted to let you know that this is the press release we sent out today
to the media outlets. Feel free to distribute. If you have any questions,
please feel free to e-mail me or my father at Thanks!

Best Regards,

*Greek Government sentences Mt. Athos monks to 2 years in jail*

*Thessalonica, Greece, October 13, 2006 -* In an Orwellian display of
judicial backwardness, the Greek Court in Thessalonica has found the monks
of the Holy and Sacred Monastery of Esphigmenou guilty of disturbing the
peace and sentenced them to 2 years in jail.

The monks, who seek only a life of peace and prayer in their monastery, have
been subject to a non-stop campaign of official harassment and intimidation
by Patriarch Bartholomew of Istanbul, Turkey, and his accomplices in the
Greek government, because of a spiritual disagreement they have with him.
And it is now the monks who have been found guilty of disturbing the peace
by the Greek courts.

The Greek Police and Coast Guard have blockaded the delivery of food,
medicine, fuel oil and have denied access to doctors seeking to provide
urgently needed medical care to the elderly monks. Under the Greek
constitution, the Foreign Minister, Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis is the minister
responsible for these actions.

Greek Government officials have told Esphigmenou that these actions would
end, and their human rights restored, if they drop their dissent from the
official state church. The monks have sought a dialogue with Patriarch
Bartholomew to ask him to end his persecution of them, but he has refused.
Instead he has used the Greek Police as his own private army to make an
example of anyone who would question his personal interpretations of the

This legal decision is just the latest act of blatant persecution of these
peaceful and prayerful monks. Unable to starve the monks into leaving
their monastery with their blockade, Patriarch Bartholomew and his
accomplices in the Greek government have used their considerable resources
to craft a legal justification to provide a cover for their persecution. As
such, the persecuted monks have been convicted of the absurd charge of
disturbing the peace, and with being "illegal occupants" of their monastery
home of over 1500 years. Patriarch Bartholomew conspired with the local
Greek authorities to create a "new" monastic brotherhood with the same name,
Esphigmenou. Even though the creation of this brotherhood clearly violates
the Charter of Mt. Athos, this imposter brotherhood has "legally" told the
Greek authorities to seize and empty bank accounts, cut telephone lines to
the Monastery, block delivery of food supplies and mail, and prohibit doctor

This official persecution of the monks is executed by the same court which
has refused to even consider the assault case, when sledge hammer wielding
monks from the Patriarch's "new" Esphigmenou were captured on video
viciously attacking the monks of Esphigmenou in an brazen and unprovoked

Abbot Methodios of Esphigmenou Monastery said "We will not be intimidated.
Our battle has always been for the truth and it still is. This Monastery is
ours and is our home and no one can make us leave our home because we
disagree with them and they falsely label us as 'schismatic' and 'illegal
occupiers' of our monastery. We would rather die here in our monastery. Our
persecutors should know, that in Orthodoxy, the ends do not justify the
means." The monastery appeals to the civilized world for help in ending
this persecution.

Esphigmenou lawyer Mr. Nektarios Polychroniou said the fact that the Fathers
of Esphigmenou have been brought before the Greek Criminal Court and now
face jail time "is preposterous and an outrage to every citizen who believes
in freedom of speech and the right to dissent without being forced from your

For More Information Contact John Rigas +1-617-971-0091
On the net at

Colin Revell
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