Edit: for years there are forces in Greece that would like to minimize and diminish the influence of the Greek Orthodox Church. One of the most important targets to attack is Mount Athos, for monasticism has always been the living heart of Christian culture and mysticism.
Last week the court ruled to arrest Archimandrite Ephrem, abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos, in connection with a large-scale investigation into real estate deals between the Monastery and the Greek State initiated in 2008. On weekend the police came to the Vatopedi Monastery to arrest Fr. Ephrem. After medical doctors had examined the abbot, it was decided to leave him in the Monastery for health reasons. It was reported on Tuesday, however, that Fr Ephrem was arrested and taken away from Mr. Athos.
Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, gave his appraisal of the actions of the Greek authorities in his short interview to Interfax-Religion.
- Your Eminence, the Greek authorities arrested Archimandrite Ephrem, abbot of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, who has recently accompanied the Belt of the Mother of God in Russia. Please, give your comments.
- We do not and can not know all about the charges in abuses in real estate transactions made by the Vatopedi Monastery in the past filed against Fr Ephrem and other persons. Whether these charges are just, the Greek court will decide; we cannot interfere. However, it is quite obvious that detention under remand of Archimandrite Ephrem, who does not pose any danger, without considering the case on its merits and before a court ruling, is an extraordinary action that surprises us deeply. The authorities arrested nobody but the elderly and ailing priest. This ruling arouses grave concern of believers of the Russian Orthodox Church, puts her hierarchs on guard, and makes us ponder over its true reasons.
Read further at interfax...