July 29, 2014

Greece Supreme Court annuls verdict against Abbot Ephraim


Source: The Voice of Russia The Greek Supreme Court has annulled a verdict against Archimandrite Ephraim, the Abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, local media reported on Thursday. Earlier this week, Ephraim and two more people were convicted to ten months in prison for embezzlement and money laundering in Greece. In a statement on Thursday, the Supreme Court said that the verdict is illegal and should be reviewed. Ephraim was arrested in December 2011 and is still in a detention center in Athens. … [Read more...]

Greek Church Protests Pre-Trial Detention of Abbot Ephraim

Abbott Ephraim

Will the (autocephalous) Orthodox Church of Greece receive a scolding as well? (See: Εcumenical Patriarchate Denounces Russian Interference in the Ephraim Case.) Source: RIA Novosti The autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece has called for the release of Abbot Efraim, the head of the Vatopedi Monastery in Mount Athos, who is currently under arrest on real estate fraud charges, the church’s Holy Synod said on Thursday. “Our church respects rulings by justice and would not like to interfere in its responsibility sphere… Nevertheless, together with many believers, the church expresses sympathy of all its members to the embattled abbot, and… hopes the possibility of his release from custody will be reconsidered,” it said. The Cypriot-born 56-year-old Abbot Efraim is accused of involvement in a criminal scheme under which the Greek government swapped cheap farmland for costly Athens real estate in favor of the Vatopedi Monastery. He says he is not guilty. The head of … [Read more...]

Εcumenical Patriarchate Denounces Russian Interference in the Ephraim Case

Abbott Ephraim

The Vatopedi land deal (see: Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds) has resulted in the arrest and detainment of the Abbot of the Monastery of Vatopaidi Ephraim. It has also exacerbated tensions between Constantinople and Moscow. Constantinople was silent on the matter while Moscow was unequivocal in its condemnation of the arrest which they view as unnecessary and unjust. Constantinople broke it silence only recently with the press release copied below. It is hard to draw any conclusions not knowing the particulars of the case but as a friend of mine mentioned to me earlier, criticism of the Greek Government for the arrest of Abbot Ephraim cannot be rightly constructed as "interference" in the canonical territory the Ecumenical Patriarchate. To Moscow, this is a matter of elementary justice, not administration. If, say, Moscow sprang the Abbott from jail and flew him to Russia, then Constantinople would have a point. But defending a man who quite likely is a pawn in the increasing … [Read more...]