556 – Reaction on nr. 550

Three flags, one black, on the tower of Esfigmenou (photo by Theologos Tats)

We brought you earlier the news that the monks of Esfigmenou threathened to blow up the monastery. The news came among others from a dutch source (wereldomroep).
This is another source about this matter with a different view:

Patriarch Bartholomew Tries to Seize Property with Media Assistance
In a shocking and horrifying twist to the scandal related to the attempted seizures of Esphigmenou Monastery by the Ecumenical Patriarch over the past few months, two news media outlets– one run by “Orthodox Christian Laity” and the other being Radio Free Netherlands– have falsely reported that the monks of the Holy Community of Esphigmenou plan to blow up the monastery without a single source, and without any proof. As NFTU pointed out in an editorial entitled “The True Orthodox Church Set-up” months ago, the use of the media to falsely paint True Orthodox Christians as psychotic extremists would soon follow the arrest of the sect leader Pyotr Kuntsenov.

And it has.

The facts of the case are clear. The monastery, the largest on Mount Athos, has repeatedly defended itself by publicly appealing both to the Patriarchate and the Greek Government by open letters and public protests, which have successfully turned back tanks and special forces. Their argument was simple: they, as a monastery, have the right to cease commemorating the Patriarch if he chooses to enter into heretical dialogue. Up to now, the media has failed to change a thing; in August, even with the forced changes on many monasteries of Mount Athos to get the other monasteries to submit to the Patriarch’s will, the monasteries of Athos continued to vote not to remove the Esphigmenou Fathers by force (the last vote held was 13-6 against using violence against the Holy Community).

The Patriarch showed up on the Holy Mountain last week, presumably to try to change their vote, and force in an imposter brotherhood onto the monastery grounds. These efforts have still failed. So they have turned to the media to assist them. The shocking and unsubstantiated claims have made their way to the two media sources above. We can only assume that this is an ugly beginning to one last grand attempt to rid Mount Athos of the “extremists”, who remain the clearest voice of conscience on Mount Athos. What surprises us, however, is the placement by OCL of Radio Free Netherlands’ text on their site, which has no citations, sources, and could have simply been a Patriarchal press release written to justify this seizure.

We can only hope they reconsider that as members of the online media, OCL — as we have no such expectation from Radio Free Netherlands– will consider adopting some sort of objective standard.

Past articles about Esphigmenou can be found by clicking the label below this article.


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