Esphigmenou Responds: No “Bombs” Were Thrown!

July 29, 2013 After media reports that Esphigmenou monks at the Karyes had supposedly thrown petrol bombs, friends of Esphigmenou monastery respond that such is not the case.  A video is provided of what transpired during this incident at the Karyes. The statement on the website is as such:


ATHENS, GREECE — Statement from John Rigas, President of Friends of Esphigmenou Monastery on Mt. Athos:

“I just spoke with one of the Esphigmenou monks, Father Sava, and want to correct the record about the ongoing attacks against the monastery today.

This morning, a group of around 20 large armed men armed attacked the Esphigmenou monastery building in Karyes, Mt. Athos where the monks were engaged in quiet prayer.  This is the 12th day that the monastery has been under siege. The monks twice asked for the men to leave in peace after a city clerk attempted to serve them with eviction papers. Then the 20 large men attempted to smash their way into the monastery building with a construction bulldozer. As you can see in the video, uniformed Greek police stood around while a bulldozer attacked the property and attempted to smash down the front door:

This bulldozer came within 15 centimeters of killing a defenseless monk (who was behind the door and did sustain injuries) with its steel blade .

Contrary to media reports, they did NOT throw any bombs. I specifically asked Fr. Sava about these alleged “bombs” and he said that they do not have bombs and did not throw any bombs. It appears Greek government officials are trying to cover up their complicity in these lawless and criminal activities by spreading false reports to media outlet now that their nefarious activity has been exposed.  The video of the attack shows that there is no evidence of bombs or aggressive action by the monks.

 UPDATE: More than 80 armed Greek police currently surround monastery building filled with peaceful monks who only want to be left alone to pray. Now the government has cut off their water supply. The monks continue to pray for peace and ask for the prayers of the faithful and appeal to the Mother of God for protection.

 Monks at Esphigmenou have already died at the hands of the government due to lack of food, water and medical supplies. Now the government almost killed a monk today with a bulldozer. The Greek government needs to focus on getting its economy back on track — wasting taxpayer Euros on persecuting innocent monks needs to stop today.”

18 thoughts on “Esphigmenou Responds: No “Bombs” Were Thrown!

  • July 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    The Holy Community of Mt. Athos has before stated that threats have been made by Esphigmenou that they “have enormous quantities of explosives and arms” and that there be an “explosion” if attempts were made to remove the monks. See:

    Perhaps the monks made these threats again, whether explosives were actually used or not.

  • July 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm


    Molotov Cocktails are effective because they are messy; everybody nearby gets splashed with burning gasoline. A Molotov Cocktail couldn’t land neatly at a police officer’s feet like a biter in a game of curling. The police officer would have been covered in burning fuel, struggling to get his clothes off and put out whatever remained on his skin – very nasty burns are assured, and death possible.

    I guess we’ll find out the truth eventually as things reach a crescendo. Either the monks have been lying to us or the Greek Government is still paying Adobe their license fees for Photoshop. I believe the latter.


    John Collis

      • August 6, 2013 at 8:12 am

        From the article quoted below, it looks from the words of Abbot Methodius of Esphigmenou that *if* the photo being discussed is not real, it is at least a very close representation of what actually took place. I do not see in his remarks any claim that the photo circulating is fake, but rather an admission of what took place that very much fits the photo:

        “Then, when he realized that all bodies will melt under the door if this fall to blows, he gathered that paliopano found, watering with fuel and cried from a window of intimidation that if you leave them burn. When he saw that still blows, then threw the rag on the machine, ie in the neutral zone and not on the staff, hoping that the operator will scare potential fire and retreat. Fortunately this happened.”

        • August 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm

          If this is an accurate statement, or interview, then, it seems to portray a middle view. Instead of nothing happening on the one hand, and on the other, the monk throwing a molotov cocktail, that, instead, he became scared for the monks about to be run over, injured (as one was), etc, behind the door and did something. What he did, as this site states, is, “he threw the rag on the machine”, i.e., not the bottle, etc. But, through a burning rag on the roof of the machine hoping that it would cause the operator to stop ramming through the door. If this is all accurate, it seems that it still isn’t as bad as things are trying to be made.

        • August 6, 2013 at 3:43 pm

          The picture, if accurate shows a bottle intended to be ignited with a rag/wick. A flaming rag might be thrown at the machine, but given how small the machine is, the driver might be struck too. Also, throwing a rag is not like throwing a baseball – I don’t know what accuracy can be expected.
          A Molotov cocktail would have had a good chance of showering everyone nearby with burning gasoline. I don’t see how an interpretation of a ‘neutral zone’ is applicable.
          Things aren’t jiving. A thrown Molotov cocktail would have had a very photographable impact. A bottle can be accurately aimed; a rag not. We see a picture of a bottle being thrown, not a rag. We lack any picture of the impact, or anything burning as a result. Anything thrown in that proximity of on-lookers would have been very dangerous.
          John Colli

          • August 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm

            I agree that the accounts don’t add up. A rag, by itself, is not threatening. A burning rag would not cause everyone to flee and would not have elicited that message of “fear” that was issued afterwards from Karyes. Abbot Methodius also does not claim the photo of the monk is fake, though I would be surprised if he were unaware of the photo. A typical Molotov cocktail could cause a lot of damage, but perhaps the bottle was not filled with gasoline but something not quite as flammable/explosive?

            At the bottom of the following page, copies of the police report are included, referring to “explosives”


            The police report agrees with the photo and states:

            “On their arrival there, the occupants refused to abandon the occupied buildings and upon the Bailiff’s attempt to violate the door of one of the two said buildings with the assistance of (b) acting as witness and persons 3 to 12 acting as employees hired by (a) were victims of an attack by two (2) improvised explosive devices (molotov cocktails of the explosive kind), by persons who were at a window of the second storey of the building under occupation. A Police Force from our Department ran to the point and blockaded the area in order to avert further escalation of unlawful acts detrimental to persons and things. Preliminary investigation is under way.”

          • August 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm

            “…perhaps the bottle was not filled with gasoline but something not quite as flammable/explosive?”

            Olive oil perhaps?

            Here boys, go make yourself a nice salad and leave us alone…

  • July 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    This looks photoshopped.

    The vertical line extending between red arrows, suggests the edge of a veil or string. There is no way that anything can hang both in front of and behind that small steel frame piece and distort light/dark on either side. Escher would be proud.

    Everything looks like around the green arrow which doesn’t make sense. Hot gases escaping from a flame would warp visibility of the wall behind. If the flame was moving, their shape suggests the monk extending his right hand arcing downwards, in which case we would see some blur in the detail of the bricks above and to the left of the flame, and/or maybe black smoke. However, a number of other molotov cocktail photos on the web, don’t show the distortion I would imagine, so I don’t know what to make of this.
    Also, where is the monk’s shoulder? It seems a little bit odd, though plausible it isn’t in view.

    If anyone has a better sense of how to detect photoshopped images, please provide input.
    There are already some sites on the web stating this is a fake, but I am not sure.

    • August 6, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      I goofed on this picture and it should be deleted.

  • November 28, 2013 at 2:49 am

    They need to stop commemorating the ecumenist heretic, Metropolitan Pavlos of Astoria.

    • November 28, 2013 at 9:40 am

      I don’t think that all the monks commemorate the same people, an I don’t know how the service commemoration goes…. As I understand, there is a unique setup there.

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