Mt. Athos, Greece, September 24, 2012–Greek foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, has ordered special riot police MAT and EKAM (noted for their use in the suppression of Greek protestors and rioters), to Mt. Athos with orders to evict the monks. Apparently, as attempts to starve the monks out, as well as denying any access to medical or other aid, have failed over the past decade, this move may possibly indicate a renewed threat to the Monastery.
Holy Ascension Monastery, more commonly known as Esphigmenou, has been the only monastery on Mt. Athos that has consistently refused to recognize the current claimant to the Ecumenical Patriarchate (i.e., Bartholomew Archontonis) as the legitimate Patriarch. The belief rests upon Bartholomew’s teaching endorsing ecumenism and modernism; in traditional Orthodox understanding, such teachings constitute heresy. At one point, almost all the monasteries on Mt. Athos had refused to commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarchate (going back several decades before Bartholomew occupied the seat) over the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s embrace of the anti-Orthodox new calendar, as well as teachings embracing ecumenism.
Attempts have been made by the fathers of Esphigmenou to reach a peaceful settlement, but, violence has been the general answer given by the ecumenist-modernist patriarchate. A number of monks have been injured or even murdered by Greek government forces and forces loyal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Ecumenical Patriarch (notorious for his support for ‘abortion rights’ and trans-religious syncretism) and the Greek government have worked hard to persecute Esphigmenou Monastery, principally over the monastery’s refusal to reject traditional Orthodox teachings.
Recently, in accord with the renewed attention from the Greek government, several monks were sentenced to prison sentences for refusing to leave the monastery. A Thessalonikan court gave 6 month prison sentences to the monks.
The current impostor brotherhood of Esphigmenou is still waiting to occupy the monastery. Presumably, this cannot take place until the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek government have murdered or otherwise killed or incapcitated a sufficient number of the monks.