October 22, 2005


Dear Mr. Skandalakis,


The world is watching and will continue to watch the attempted eviction from their monastic home, of the monks, of the Esphigmenou Monastery, simply because, they have a different opinion.


In our day and age, it is an outrage to persecute anyone, and harm them, simply because they disagree with your point of view, in this case, the unorthodox actions and statements, which are condemned by the Orthodox Church's teachings, of Patriarch Bartholomew.


The monks of Esphigmenou are correct in their assessment, that the Patriarch is teaching heresy and is playing politics, with our Orthodox Faith.


Giving Holy Communion, as he and some of his accomplices have done on many occasions, to non Orthodox, is strictly forbidden by the Orthodox Church.


Praying together with unrepentant heretics, over and over again, is also not approved.


The Church, as all disciplines, has rules by which they must abide.


A surgeon does not perform surgeries, over and over again, without anesthetic or without the proper tools. If he does, he is removed from that profession's official list of surgeons, and if he persists in his folly, the state steps in and incarcerates him to protect the public.


Patriarch Bartholomew is such a surgeon, only in Church terms, and he uses his position, to contaminate the Holy Church with his heretical teachings and acts and threatens anyone who challenges him and his unholy doings. A case in point is, the Esphigmenou monks.


They want to be Orthodox in Faith and this has been a thorn in the side of Mr. .Bartholomew and his predecessors, with the difference being, that Mr. Bartholomew, wants to harm the monks and in doing that, he will also spiritually harm all those persons, who empower him to accomplish this evil act, that is you and all those in the Greek government who may help him.


Disputes, any kind of disputes, and especially religious differences, in our days, and especially in the European Union, which prides itself with "religious freedom, and protection of Human Rights etc.." are solved through dialogue and not through the use of the state’s "police forces" to impose, a "wrong" upon those who only seek the perpetuation of our Orthodox Faith, the monks of Esphigmenou.


The Greek government, will be making a "grave" error, if they continue the course of harming, evicting and depriving the monks of their rights, both "civil and religious."


The Patriarch who talks about his rights in Turkey and how the Turks should respect them, is now, with the help of the Greek government, callously and unchristian, attempting to spiritually kill, over 100 monks whose only "crime" is, that they want to be True Orthodox Christians.


Don't we all aspire to that, Mr. Skandalakis? To be True Orthodox Christians, to our ability?


There are thousands of non Greek Orthodox Christians, who know Orthodoxy much better than, cradle orthodox, like you and me, and upon learning of what is being attempted at Esphigmenou, have been, scandalized to no end. From their readings of the Holy fathers of the Orthodox Church, they know the Faith and the rules better than we do.


We are not dealing with ignorant Orthodox Christians, who do not care about the Faith or their personal salvation, and who blindly follow what the person with the "big" title says, because "he" is the one in charge.


People these days, discern the Truth and honest people defend it, even with their lives. In the past, people who did this became the "saints" of our Church. St. Dionysios the Areopagites of Athens, was such a person, who knew our LORD CHRIST and gave his life for HIM, not at all thinking of his lofty position in the society of his time. St. Demetrios of Thessaloniki was another. He was governor or the Roman Empires area of northern Greece, but when it came time for him to, either confess the Truth, or to hold on to his position, he chose the Truth and he was put to death. Today, we celebrate his memory as a hero in our Church, for he gave up his position and his life for the Truth, for CHRIST our GOD.


The Esphigmenite monks are doing the same thing today and must be supported not persecuted.


I have seen your picture in the Greek American newspapers and how you have been good friends with some of the former clergymen from this country (U.S.).


The Esphigmenite monks have done nothing wrong. All they want is to be left alone to pray.


So stop the persecution and do not support people who look Orthodox but teach heresy, as in the case of Patriarch Bartholomew and some with him.


The Church is not governed by diplomacy, but by CHRIST HIMSELF, to whom, you and all of us will answer for our words, deeds and actions, on that frightful day, when only the right deed, decisions, actions and words will be our only defense before HIS throne.


The Saints of the Orthodox Church were ascetics, as the Esphigmenou monks are.


The world killed St. John The Baptist. He was put to death by the then government, so was our LORD CHRIST, was tried and put to death, "legally" by a "robber" -Lystriki- synod of Hierarchs, the "Sahedrin" who were the power brokers of the day, who convinced the Roman governor Pilate (you are in Pilates place today) to put CHRIST to Death, legally, just like you are attempting to do today with the monks, but today, we know, who was "right" and who was "wrong." And today, the world, thank GOD for the Internet, everyone, throughout the World knows who the Esphigmenou monks are and what they believe and who is "right" and also have seen, read and witnessed their adversary and his government friends (who of course, are doing this for "national" reasons) his unorthodox words, actions and deeds and know who is "wrong."


No matter what you do, unless you chose to stop this unlawful persecution, you will not convince anyone that your wrong decisions against the monks are correct. This issue will not die unless resolved justly and the monks are left alone and in their monastery, where they have lived all their life.


Wrong decisions and actions by anyone are never certified as correct by History.


With respect,


John Rigas

Teacher of History and Orthodox Theologian