Russian foundation calls on the heads of Christian Orthodox Churches to defend Abbot Efraim
26. December 2011. | 17:29 09:37
Author: Nikolaos D.A. Arvanites
The Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called on Saturday expressed “deep concern” in response to the Court of Appeals Judges’ Council decision in Athens, according to which, Vatopedi monastery Abbot Efraim is held in custody pending trial.
The Russian foundation calls on the Mount Athos monastic community, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and the heads of Christian Orthodox Churches to defend Abbot Efraim.
The Greek Prosecutor’s Office has issued an arrest warrant for the Father Superior of the famous Vatopedi Monastery, on Mount Athos, Archimandrite Efraim, who is suspected of involvement in real estate-related crimes.
The monastery feels the decision is unfounded.
One of the much revered Orthodox relics, the Cincture of the Virgin Mary, is kept at the Vatopedi Monastery.The Cincture was brought to Russia this past autumn for believers to worship it.It is the first time that the Cincture has been taken out of Greece.
All the numerous requests from other countries had been invariably declined.
The Vatopedi Monastery believes that the lawsuit against their Father Superior has been prompted by his permission to take the Cincture to Russia.
"Support Elder Efrem"
The Orthodox people, Greeks and non-Greeks, have been astounded and appalled at the unwarranted decision of the Athens Court of Appeals to remand Elder Efrem into custody.
They are, therefore, called upon to express their firm condemnation of this decision and their support to Elder Efrem by signing the following form.
Letter condemning the decision
The President of the Hellenic Republic,
The Prime Minister,
The Attorney General
24 December 2011
We hereby condemn with abhorrence the judicial ‘’crime’ committed in Athens on the 23rd December 2011, against the Church in the face of Elder Efrem, Abbot of the Great, Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi in the Holy Mountain.
The decision to take Elder Efrem into custody was based on hatred and prejudice. This is manifested in the following:
1.The timing of the decision: Christmas Eve
2.The surrounding of the Holy Mountain by armed police forces despite the declaration by the attorney representing the Elder that the latter intended to present himself to the police willingly.
3.The sentence passed is normally given to people who have the intention to repeat the offences accused of.
4.During the preliminary hearing the reason given for the sentence was the Elder’s recent trip to Russia, when he accompanied the Holy Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God. During this visit millions of people, including the President, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General of the Russian Republic came out to greet them.
5.The investigation lasted more than three years and no incriminating evidence has been found.
6.The offence which the Elder is accused of is ‘instigation’ even though the suspects of this offence have been acquitted.
7.During the last three years of the investigation, the Elder has taken numerous trips abroad and if he had intended to leave the country he had plenty of opportunity to do so.
8.The Elder, as a spiritual figure, is honored and praised worldwide and constitutes an excellent envoy for Greece.
9.The people who have been revealed as the masterminds of the conspiracy against him have been honored with ministerial posts and are attempting to cover up their deception at all costs.
10.In Greece, enormous scandals have been uncovered and established while those responsible are not only walking free but are also given political posts.
We are convinced that the decision is a deliberate political act intending to defame the Holy Mountain and the Church.
We call upon you to do the utmost to reverse it.