April 24, 2014

Russian Church Declines to Comment on Constantinople Statement on Abbot’s Arrest

Pats. Bartholomew and Kyrill

How is Moscow commenting on the imprisonment of Abbot Ephraim any different than Constantinople urging the Europeans to support passage of the Geneva Protocols before Global Warming was discredited? Don't both concern an act of state? Or is Constantinople claiming a prerogative that in fact does not exist: Whenever the state takes an action that impacts the Church, only the hierarch of the region has authority to speak out. If that's the case, then no Church could protest in support of, say, the Coptic Orthodox or any other group persecuted by the state. This is a prescription for recalcitrant states to increase pressure on all Christians, not just the Orthodox. Moscow is wise not to say anything. Source: Interfax Moscow, January 12, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has declined to comment on a statement from the Patriarchate of Constantinople on Tuesday on the recent arrest in Greece of Archimandrite Ephrem, abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery in Greece's Mt. Athos … [Read more...]

Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds

Vatopedi Monastery

Source: Vanity Fair As Wall Street hangs on the question “Will Greece default?,” the author heads for riot-stricken Athens, and for the mysterious Vatopaidi monastery, which brought down the last government, laying bare the country’s economic insanity. But beyond a $1.2 trillion debt (roughly a quarter-million dollars for each working adult), there is a more frightening deficit. After systematically looting their own treasury, in a breathtaking binge of tax evasion, bribery, and creative accounting spurred on by Goldman Sachs, Greeks are sure of one thing: they can’t trust their fellow Greeks. Read the entire article on the Vanity Fair website. … [Read more...]

Report: Monks defrauding Greek state again

Maybe what they need on Mt. Athos are mandatory classes in business ethics. From the Greek daily Kathimerini: Another ‘unholy’ land swap under scrutiny Just a few months after news broke about the Vatopedi land-swap scandal, the Supreme Court prosecutor this weekend called for an investigation into another suspicious exchange between the Orthodox Church and the state. Giorgos Sanidas ordered a preliminary investigation into the transfer of a prime piece of land on the Aegean island of Skyros to a Mount Athos monastery and the purchase by the Greek state, allegedly at an excessive price, of a much smaller plot belonging to the monastery. Sanidas wants an Athens prosecutor to determine whether the monastery’s acquisition of the 3,700-hectare plot on Skyros should lead to any individuals being charged with defrauding the state. He notes that the court rulings relating to the land transfer “were the result of misleading evidence and testimonies” and therefore are “unlawful.” … [Read more...]

Greeks losing interest in Hellenism

The anarchists that sank Greece into a near state of chaos late last year are now taking aim at the Church: Greece is seeing an unprecedented spate of terrorist attacks against churches. Among the churches that were hit, in one case during religious service, were the Athens Metropolitan Church, the Piraeus Metropolitan Church, and the Church of St. Demetrios in Thessaloniki. Greek media have described these attacks, the likes of which Greece has not seen even when the country was under occupation, as a “declaration of war against the Church of Greece.” All of the bombs were defused in time and only one, at Agia Triada in Pireaus, caused minor damage. The organization “Conspiracy of the Nuclei of Fire – Commandos” along with “The Nihilist Faction” assumed responsibility for the attack and in a manifesto claimed “Religion is a mechanism of power that plays a particularly devious role in subjugating people.” Authorities in Greece are taking the attacks very seriously, especially in … [Read more...]

Abp. Ieronymos: Redefine our message

During a visit to Ionian island of Zakynthos yesterday, Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, warned yesterday that the Church has to redefine its message for contemporary society. If today we do not, like [island patron saint] Saint Dionysios, give witness to the ecclesiastical truth in a spirit of humility, peace and unity, then we will be tragic and outdated figures of an atavistic past with an eccentric role in our popular and meaningless religious festivals. In Kathimerini's "Face to Face with Ourselves," Nikos Konstandaras includes the Greek clergy in the long list of those culpable for the current anarchy on the streets of Athens. … [Read more...]