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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
- e-mail:


Hide the following 3 comments

It is not thus as it is described more

22.10.2006 22:53

It is not thus as it is described more. The monks have curiously big fortunes. The public prosecutor the research.

They are fanatic Christians, nationalists

from Greece

You state these monks are rich chritian nationalist? Where's your evidence?

24.10.2006 17:39

You state that the 'peaceful' monks are rich christian nationalist. I don't know where you are getting your disinformation from. Where's your evidence?

I am not an orthodox Christian myself, but my friend Adrain is within the disabled peoples movement and I trust what he tells me.

Adrian is a pro-active basic human and civil rights campiagner within the Inclusion, Disabled Peoples', Neurodiversity, Survivors and Independent Livingh movements in the UK and global world, especially as we are also both members, campaigners and researchers user-led Autistic/Neurodiverse 'Crip voices within the UN Disability Convention too.

Adrian will be coming onto Indymedia soon to defend these monks and to put his side of the story.

As I said I am not religious (orgainsed), but I am 'spiritual' humanist and I believe that all human beings have the basic human right to express and belong to any religious group they like as long has it's not offence and causing harm and violence and inciting hatred towards others

This is a basic human rights for all of us.

No human being should have to suffer perscecution and violence for their 'beliefs', especially when in the case of these monks they are causing no harm to anyone and are peaceful loving human beings.

If you or anyone else want to know 'the-truth' and not the disinformation from the Greek Government, then if you support these Greek monks then you can do the following:-
Email Adrian Whyatt ( I have given you his email address) or What Can I Do to Help? .......

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and his accomplices in the Greek government, chiefly, Foreign Minister Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis, under whose ultimate authority the Greek government acts, have:

Cut off FOOD, MEDICINE, and HEATING OIL to the monastery, which has many elderly monks.


Created an imposter monastery with the same name (Esphigmenou) to which all mail is now delivered, and to whom all assets of the monastery are to be delivered.

Cut off TELEPHONE service, including emergency telephone service, to the monastery in an attempt to prevent the outside world from learning of the callous and inhumane actions, against the least amongst us, defenseless monks.

The Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou appeals for the moral support of all people, so that the Human Rights and Religious Freedom of its over 100 monks will not be trampled and so that the Monastery may continue, without hindrance, to pursue its spiritual life and philanthropy towards all people. Please call, fax, and e-mail the individuals responsible for this to protest and to show your support for the monks and their freedom. All phone, fax and e-mail information is further down on this page:

Contact the Greek Government and the European Union

Please e-mail and call Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, Foreign Minister Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, under whose 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.

Contact the European Union, and the foreign ministers of its member states and ask them to inquire with the Greek government as to why they are abusing the basic and fundamental human rights and religious freedom of these monks who are citizens of Greece and citizens of the EU. Demand an end to the blockade of food, medicine and heating oil to the monastery.

You may also wish to reference what Human Rights Greece is violating regarding the monks of Mount Athos (Articles 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25) : Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Mount Athos Civil Administrator and Holy Community

Call and fax the local police and civil administration on Mount Athos who are on the ground enforcing the blockade as well as the 19 monasteries on Mount Athos who have shamefully turned a blind eye and have not stood up to protest these unchristian actions of the Patriarch:

If you can, please make a donation. The monks need your help.

All funds are to benefit the Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mt. Athos, and are sent directly to Abbott Methodios. There are 4 ways you can donate. Thank you for your generous donation. Mail checks to:

Friends of Esphigmenou Monastery

PO Box 301012

Boston, MA 02130-0009

Friends of Esphigmenou is a 501(c3) in the US and is a charitable deduction.
Mail checks to:

Abbott Methodios

PO Box 5913

Ierissos, Greece 63075

On-Line Donation:

Click here to make an instant on-line donation via PayPal using your Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover card, or make a direct transfer directly from your checking account:



Mr. Kostas Karamanlis
Prime Minister of Greece

Telephone 011-30-210-338-5491 (private office number) Fax: 011-30-210-323-8129

Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis
Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs
Send an e-mail to the Foreign Minister

Telephone 011-30-210-368-1800 Fax: 011-30-210-368-1433

Theodoros Kassimis
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Telephone: +30-210-368-2571 Fax: +30-210-368-2410

Patriarch Bartholomew
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

Tel: +90-212-635-4022 or +90-212-531-9670 Fax. +90-212-5349037

Ask to speak to the Patriarch himself, and express your opposition to the unchristian embargo of Food, Medicine and Fuel to Esphigmenou Monastery on Mt Athos, and to the Patriarch's demand for the Monks eviction by the Greek Police.

Click here for a list of Members of Greek Parliament, E-mail members of parliament to ask them to put an end to this inhumae action. For a list in English click here (English list of member of Greek parliament)

6 Click here to submit a petition to the EU, Refer to petition 361/2002. If you wish to mail a document, the street address is: European Parliament// Members' Activities// L-2929 Luxembourg

7 Contact the Foreign Ministers of the other EU countries Ask them to inquire with the Greek Foreign Minister and the Greek Prime Minister as to this grave and flagrant violation of the rights of citizens of the EU. Click here for their contact information

Civil Administration of Mount Athos (on the ground directing and enforcing the blockade). Have not stood up to protest these unchristian and unlawful actions.

Tel: 011-30-23770-23230 Fax: 011-30-23770-23290

Holy Community (Iera Epistasia) Acquiesced under enormous pressure from Patriarch to vote to evict monks and set up imposter monastery.

Fax: 011-30-23770-23315

Police in Daphni - local police enforcing blockade under orders from Civil Administration and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

tel/fax: 011-30-23770-23222 (call and ask to send a fax and they will turn on the machine)

Police in Karyes - local police enforcing blockade under orders from Civil Administration and Minister of Foreign Affairs. They have seized, and continue to have in their possession, the monastery's tractor which is their only means of getting food.

tel: 011-30-23770-23212 fax: 011-30-23770-23260

The 19 other monasteries on Mt Athos who have shamefully acquiesced to the Patriarch's pressure to evict a fellow monastery, and ceded the independent status of Mt. Athos Phone/Fax numbers to all the Mt. Athos Monasteries

A sample of letters of protest that have been submitted:

Letter to Deputy Foreign Minster, October 22, 2005

Congressional inquiry by US Senate, Kennedy (2003)

Letters Submitted by University Professors

Attachment : SampleEsphigmenouletter.doc (0.02 MB)

Thank you Colin and Adrian for all of your efforts. The struggle continues and we need people to continue to contact the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece to demand an end to the persecution. We have put their contact information on the front page of the site ( to make it easy for people to click and send. If anyone needs help writing a letter, we have come up with a sample letter that you could use, that I have attached. People can use that letter, or take it and add or subtract from it to create a letter in their own words. THANK YOU!!

Best Regards,
Michael Rigas
Master in Public Administration
Harvard University
John F. Kennedy School of Government

Colin Revell
mail e-mail:


24.10.2006 19:05


I think this is the website link for the The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( His All Holiness, BARTHOLOMEW, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch) who are abusing and oppressing the monks, where 5 monks have died too, at the Esphigmenou Monastery in Greece:-

Colin Revell
mail e-mail: