MONASTERY OF ESPHIGMENOU
HOLY MOUNTAIN ATHOS
Protocol No. 46
THE HISTORY OF THE PERSECUTION
OF THE SACRED AND ROYAL MONASTERY OF ESPHIGMENOU
It is commonly known that the Holy Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou, for reasons of conscience and Faith, has ceased commemorating the name of the Ecumenical Patriarch in its Church Services from the year 1972. For the same reasons it has also ceased spiritual communion with the leadership of the Governing Body, that is, the Holy Community [or Committee].
In retaliation, that same year, the Holy Community [Committee] illegally and uncanonically cast out of its meetings the representative of our Holy Monastery, the ever memorable monk, Elder Chariton. This was done in spite of the (K.X.A.O.), the Mount Athos Charter, which declares that a seat at the meetings of the Holy Community [Committee], is still legally and rightfully ours.
Since then, the Holy Community [Committee] using assorted and various coercive tactics, has tried to force us to alter our Christian Orthodox mind.
Remarkably, in the year 1974, our Sacred Monastery was surrounded by Police forces for a period of six months. They blocked all sea craft from approaching our dock, cut off our telephone lines, stopped delivery of our mail, intercepted our private correspondence and blockaded food supplies from reaching our Monastery, thereby, condemning our Brotherhood in Christ, to death through starvation. In addition, funds due the Monastery for lands expropriated by the (Greek) government have been frozen. ( Trans. Note: These are funds given to each Monastery by the Greek government for lands it expropriated after the Asia Minor refugees arrived in Greece in 1922.)
Unable to bend the morale of the Esphigmenou fathers and brothers, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, completely illegally and anti canonically deposed [from the priestly rank], the holy and ever memorable Abbot Archimandrite Athanasios, and de-tonsured [if this unorthodox act were ever possible in our Church!] three other fathers of the Monastery. They were: Father Kyriakos, the ever memorable Father Chariton, and Father Ephraim.
In 1979 a Patriarchal delegation under the presidency of Metropolitan Maximos of Stavropoleos arrived on
Even though many years have passed, to this day the Holy Community [Committee] has been unrelenting and unmerciful in its persecution of our Sacred Monastery, because it sees our Monastery’s continual resolve to defend itself, with all its feeble power, and in every direction, against those who set themselves against it.
These struggles have resulted not only in discrimination against us, but also, in persecution and in threats. We have been deprived of privileges [afforded all the other Monasteries,] we have been denied of funds due the Monastery for its expropriated Metochia land, and, we have been denied of recognition as required by the Mount Athos Charter which governs the internal affairs of this land. They refuse to recognize the internal rules and regulations of our Monastery and finally, they refuse to recognize the lawfully elected Abbot of the Holy and Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou, the most Reverend Father Methodios, as well as his predecessor, the blessed Elder Euthymios.
The refusal to accept these leaders and the refusal to accept the [Monastery’s internal] Committees, as well as the refusal to accept the names of all our Brotherhood in Christ from the Register kept at our Holy and Royal Monastery and place them in the Official Register of monks residing on Mount Athos, which is kept by the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain Athos in Karyes, [constitute a gross discriminatory practice by the ecumenist Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew, the Foreign Minister of Greece Mr. Petros Molyviatis, and the Holy Community (Committee) of the Holy Mount Athos. In addition, this practice is a grave civil rights violation of the U.N. Charter on Human Rights, as defined by those Articles dealing with Human Rights and Freedom of Religious Practices of the E.U. Constitution, as well as our civil rights guaranteed to us by the Greek Constitution, as citizens of
Then, on the 9th of July 2001, without any notification or consultation with our Sacred Monastery, the Holy Community [Committee] decided to abolish the (50) Special Permits for friends to freely enter Mount Athos and visit our Monastery which had been rightfully allocated to our Monastery on a yearly basis, as is the case with all the Holy Monasteries on the Holy Mountain Athos.
Furthermore, a document, Protocol Number F. 2/34/1712/29/9 - 4/10/2001, was sent to the [Greek Government’s] Director for the
After this the temporary Director [of the Greek Government] for the Holy Mountain Athos, Mr. Aristarchos Kasmiroglu, with the objective of freeze the Sacred Monastery’s bank accounts, sent a document, Protocol Number 4212/31/7/8-10-2001, to all the Banks in Greece to discover if there were any deposits.
[No deposits were found. The Monastery was penniless.]
Around the same time, the Customs agent at the port of Daphni telephoned and informed us that after, a verbal order of the temporary Director [of the Greek Government] for the Holy Mountain Athos, Mr. Aristarchos Kasmiroglu, Customs officials at the port of Daphni, were forbidden to provide untaxed fuel to our Monastery.[All Monasteries receive untaxed fuel. The Monastery was once again being discriminated against by the Greek Government for its Christian Beliefs]. Moreover, everything was being done verbally, without paperwork from the Holy Community, or, from the temporary Director[of the Greek Government] for the Holy Mountain Athos, and, without explaining why these things were being done and why was this embargo was being implemented against, our Monastery.
Expanding this embargo, The Holy Community ordered the police of the Holy Mountain Athos, to not recognize those in charge of our Monastery and those who represented it and to refuse any written document which requested help.
Furthermore, with the annual change in the people serving on the Holy Committee of the Holy Mountain Athos, the new First supervisor of the Iberian Supervisory [committee], elder Kallinikos, issued a ban prohibiting any and all vehicles from entering or exiting our Sacred and Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou. This measure was another step in the coercive restrictions being placed on the Holy and Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou by the Holy Community [at the request of Patriarch Bartholomew], in order to bend the will our Holy Monastery and force it to change its sincere and pure Orthodox way of life.
This is a flagrant violation of our personal and religious rights as citizens of
Moreover, the Holy Community Committee of the Holy Mountain Athos considers our Abbot, our Committee of Elders, and all our Brotherhood in Christ, of the Holy and Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou, to be illegal cataleptics, illegal occupiers, nonexistent ones and undesirables.
The Committee of the Holy Community is comprised of: hieromonk Nikodemos from the Great Laura Monastery, Elder Nikodemos from Saint Paul’s Monastery, Hieromonk Photios from the Monastery of Gregoriou and the chief Secretary of the Holy Community, Hieromonk John from Saint Anne’s [Skete], who has been adamantly demanding, that the Holy and Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou take part in the common administrative issues of the Holy Mountain, end its struggle for Holy Orthodoxy and follow the other 19 Holy Monasteries, in joint prayers, which [would ultimately] conclude in the ecumenist embrace of Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew.
The Holy Committee of the Holy Mountain Athos along with the Temporary Director [of the Greek Government] for the Holy Mountain Athos, unable to convince the Esphigmenou fathers and brothers to abandon their struggle for Orthodoxy against the panheresy of Ecumenism, held consul together, and encouraged by the Holy Community (Committee) to commence their anti-Christian persecution against the Holy Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou. To carry this out, they first sought a written opinion against the Monastery by professors [hired and paid by them] Mr. Spiro Troyanou, Charalampos Papastathis and Diogenous Karagiannakidou. These hired consultants wrote a paper which was replete with false arguments. Finally, with the help of the ecumenist Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew, a Patriarchal Act, Protocol Number 1110/14-12-2002, was issued declaring the monks of Esphigmenou, to now be schismatics.
This despicable piece of paper authorized by the ecumenist and Latin minded Patriarch Mr. Bartholomew was sent to the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain, Athos, which then accept the responsibility of forcibly casting out of the borders of the Holy Mountain Athos, and unto the streets, all the monks [and clergy]of Esphigmenou.
After this, the fathers of Esphigmenou appealed to the Council of State [
Yet, the most massive, high handed act and manipulation of the Charter of the Holy Mountain Athos took place very recently on behalf of the Holy Community, when it whimsically, arbitrarily and unlawfully proceeded to establish an impostor [Esphigmenou] brotherhood which is to replace the lawful Brotherhood of the Holy Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou.
This resolution took place on August 26, 2005 in the Holy Municipal building. At the same time there arrived a Patriarchal delegation comprised by Metropolitans: Meliton of Philadelphia, Eirinaios of Kidonias and Apokoronou, and Demetrios of Sebastia. Meeting after meeting was held to force the Holy Community members to agree [to what the Patriarchal delegates demanded]. However, again and again there was resistance and most of the representatives of the Holy Monasteries continued to expressed their resistance and reservations. However, in the end, through scheming which only the representatives of Fanar diplomacy are so skilled at using, a conclusion was achieved by force from the opinions of the (19) Abbots and their corresponding representatives.
The Holy Community of the Holy Mountain Athos, after violating an incalculable number of legal directives relative to the processes of election to the position of Abbot for a Holy Mountain Monastery, chose the elder, Hieromonk Chrysostomos Katsoulidis, of the Holy Kellion of “Annunciation of the Thoetokos,” which is located in the town of Karyes, on the Holy Mountain Athos and is a dependency of the Holy Monastery of Simonos Petra.
The legal violations of the Charter of the Holy Mountain, consist of the following: Father Chrysostomos lacks a Holy Mountain tonsure, has not completed a ten year coenobitic life at the Monastery, and was not vote on by the Brotherhood of the real Holy and Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou, where those who are eligible to vote must have completed six years in the Monastery from the time of their tonsure. (See articles 112 and 114 of the Charter of Mount Athos).
Moreover the Holy Committee of the Holy Mountain Athos chose a representative to the Holy Committee and its meetings, with the right to sign documents on behalf of the legal Brotherhood of the Holy and Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou, without their consent.
Let us keep in mind that the Charter of the Holy Mountain Athos forbids a brotherhood of a Holy Mountain Monastery to be living outside its Monastery, something which is being done by the new impostor brotherhood. But the violations and high handedness do not stop here. The new impostor Abbot Father Chrysostomos has attempted to illegally seize the mail of the lawful Brotherhood with craftiness, by sending what appeared to be a legal notice to the Postal authorities, demanding the displacement of the lawful Brotherhood. At the same time, the new impostor (Esphigmenou) brotherhood has printed and uses coupons which exempt it from taxation [Greek Government tax].
Finally, the impostor brotherhood has ordered fuel, making it obvious and self-evident that in the future, it will attempt to seize the assets and legal papers which belong to the lawful Brotherhood of the Holy Royal Monastery of Esphigmenou and become the possessor of the Constitutional rights of the lawful Esphigmenou fathers. All this with the consent and culpability of the Holy Committee of the Holy Mountain Athos.
In conclusion we condemn the maneuverings used by the Holy Community of Mount Athos as extremely anti constitutional and illegal. At the same time we call to the attention of the Civil Director [of the Greek Government] for the Holy Mountain, because he has a sacred duty and a sacred obligation of supervision and exact maintenance and enforcement of the directives of the Charter of the Holy Mountain Athos, to not cover up the violations and illegalities by the Holy Community, as well as, the rest of the (19) Holy Monasteries.
We categorically declare, that these violations and the overt trampling of our individual and religious rights as Greek citizens are taking place with the tolerance, the aiding and abetting of the Civil Administration[of the Greek Government, a European Union Member, whose Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is Foreign Minister Mr. Petros Moliviatis.
While at the same time, the rest of the
However, we will not be cowered, but with a strong voice will declare to all, that we are ready to sacrifice, even this, our life so that this sacred struggle which we have carried on for thirty two years, succeeds.
This struggle is not being conducted for selfish interests.
It is for the defense of our most sweet Orthodox [Faith] and for the eradication of Ecumenism and the securing of our ancestral privileges and for the Athonite way of life.
We, therefore, declare what is evident to all, that with the help of almighty GOD and through the intercession of our Lady Theotokos the Overseer and Protector of the
THE ABBOT OF THE HOLY AND ROYAL MONMASTERY OF ESPHIGMENOU
(Signature) +Archimandrite Methodios and the brothers in CHRIST with me.