The head of the Orthodox church is visiting Athos today. This is how a friend of the Esfigmenou monastery is reacting on this visit:
MONDAY, AUGUST 18, 2008
Patriarch Bartholomew on a war path
UPDATE: August 19, 2008
August 19th, 2008 – This week, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople will travel to Mt. Athos, Greece from his native Turkey in his latest attempt to expel the monks of the Holy and Sacred Monastery of Esphigmenou on Mt Athos from their monastery home of 1500 years.
The monks of Esphigmenou have had a long running religious dispute with Patriarch Bartholomew over his departure from the teachings of the Orthodox Church and have respectfully and humbly requested a peaceful dialog with him in an attempt to resolve their differences. Patriarch Bartholomew has refused dialogue and has resorted to ever more harsher, unorthodox tactics in his crusade to evict the monks from their monastery.
The Holy Community of Mont Athos recently voted 13-6 (Esphigmenou was not allowed to attend), not to use force to remove the monks. The Patriarch plans to meet with the abbots of the monasteries of Xeropotamou, Dionysiou, Saint Paul, Simonos Petra, and Pantoktatoros. Angered by their decision not to use force, he personally intends to apply pressure to those monasteries because they did not vote to his liking. His intentions are to demand they change their vote to evict the monks of Esphigmenou. The Patriarch is allegedly threatening the abbots with defrockment if they do not obey his edict to use force.
Patriarch Bartholomew’s approach is a blatant violation of canon law and a wholesale abuse of Episcopal authority which only reserves defrockment for grievous violations of canon law, and is not for advancing a personal political agenda. Like other teachings of the Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew is disregarding this central tenet of church law. Read more.
The abbot of Esfigmenou, father Methodios
hv (+ wv)