Esphigmenou: Update

(Mt. Athos) NFTU has received early reports that the police have stood down and are no longer surrounding the monastery, standing down and leaving steadily over the weekend.

While we are awaiting further confirmation and information on what has occurred, the early reports indicate that the number of pilgrims, substantially reduced due to repeated confrontations with the police, were still able to celebrate the feast of the Ascension at the monastery, and that one unconfirmed report indicated that two monks detained from the monastery were allowed to return. This report is still in the early stages and the information may change.

The monastery is still officially blockaded, and neither food nor medical supplies can be freely transferred to the monastery, which representatives of the monks’ cause said is the next step to normalizing the situation. It was surmised that a rush of emails and phone calls from all over the world caused the government to rethink its plans. As well, there have been no reports of injuries. We here at NFTU thank God; this crisis had all the makings of a horrifying disaster before a great feast, and it has apparently ended in peace.