Rebel monks holed up at chapel after clashes at Orthodox sanctuary

(AP) THESSALONIKI, Greece — Police posted a guard Thursday outside a chapel at an Orthodox monastic sanctuary where rebel monks remained barricaded following clashes that left seven people injured.

Wednesday’s violence involved rival groups of monks carrying crowbars and sledgehammers — and is part of a long-standing dispute between legally recognized monks and a rebel monastery that opposes efforts by the Orthodox Church to improve relations with the Vatican.

“We condemn these clashes and hope that calm will prevail,” Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said.

Monks at the rebel Esphigmenou monastery in northern Greece have turned against other monasteries on the all-male, self-governing peninsula of Mount Athos.

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