Greek Government to try Monks for Heresy; Imposter brotherhood seizes monastery land

Mt Athos, Greece, August 14, 2006 – The monks of the holy and sacred
monastery of Esphigmenou of Mt. Athos have been served papers to appear
in Greek Court in Thessaloniki , to be tried for Schism and Heresy. The
trial date has been set for September 29, 2006, in the Greek Government
Criminal Court in Thessaloniki .

The charge of schism and heresy by a government against its own
citizens, has not been seen in modern European history. That chapter of
European history, where the Church accuses someone and then demands that
the State apparatus move against them and confiscate their property
unless they “repent”, is coming back to life today in Greece.

The patriarch in Istanbul has leveled this baseless charge against the
monks in order to confiscate their property and make an example to other
Orthodox clergy who dare to question him. The monks have a spiritual
disagreement with the patriarch and have sought dialogue with him to
clarify the Patriarch’s departure from Orthodox teachings. Unlike
western tradition, the Patriarch in the Orthodox Church is not
infallible, and 23 Patriarchs have been deposed for heresy, some of them

The Patriarch has refused any dialogue with the monks and has demanded
their unconditional repentance rather than address their legitimate
concerns regarding his teachings and practices which are in conflict
with the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Instead he has moved to
evict the monks from the only home they know.

The Greek Government has shamefully acquiesced to pressure by the
Patriarch to use force to blockade and evict the monks. Greek Foreign
Minister Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis, under whose ultimate authority Mt Athos
resides, controls the apparatus of the Greek State in Mt. Athos , and it
is under her ultimate authority that the blockade of food, medicine,
heating oil, and medical care has been denied to the monks. The
Inquisition that the Greek Church was spared in the Middle Ages, is now
being lived by the monks in modern day Greece .

In an attempt to hide these actions against Esphigmenou monastery from
public view, the Patriarch and his accomplices in the Greek government
have established an imposter brotherhood, using the same name
“Esphigmenou” and have begun to divert all mail, bank accounts
and real estate belonging to the monastery to the new imposter
brotherhood which they control. This is done while the true brotherhood
is blockaded in their monastery and prohibited by the Greek police and
coast guard from receiving deliveries of food, heating oil, or visits
from doctors to care for sick and elderly monks. The monastery’s
tractor has been seized by the police to prevent the monks from growing
their own food, and their telephone lines have been cut to prevent
communication to the outside world. Five monks have died without having
received medical attention, as the police have physically prohibited
doctors from entering the monastery to provide care.

Recently, monks of the impostor brotherhood have seized land belonging
to the besieged Monastery of Esphigmenou and have begun clearing the
area to set foundations for building, thereby attempting to gain
legitimacy for their brotherhood, claiming that they are on Esphigmenou
Monastery land and that their false abbot, Chrysostomos Katsoulieries,
can claim to be abbot.