Esphigmenou Monastery Brotherhood Convicted of “Obstruction”

(UKPA) A court in Greece has convicted a rebel abbot and 13 of his monks of obstructing the functioning of their 1,000-year-old monastery by refusing orders to leave it.

Court officials in Thessaloniki said the 14 were given one-year suspended prison sentences.

The occupants of Esphigmenou Monastery are in a bitter fight with Orthodox Christian authorities.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, has declared them schismatic and ordered them out of the walled monastery on the autonomous Mount Athos peninsula in northern Greece.

He is backed by an older eviction order from Greece’s highest administrative court.

The monks oppose efforts to improve relations between the Orthodox Church and the Vatican.