If there was ever a “wrong” time for Greek authorities to arrest Abbot Ephrem, it was now, well… then again it would have also struck a sour cord with Christians if he was arrested at Easter time as well. Folks, the issue of the Vatopedi Monastry is not as it seems. But to understand the issue of Vatopedi we have to begin with the basics, because even though hellasfrappe has posted many, many articles on this issue there are still many readers who actually believe all the crap the media is pouring out to them.
So here goes…
Mont Athos is located in the entire third, eastern and most beautiful peninsula of Halkidik in northern Greece. This area is called the peninsula of Athos. It is the only place in Greece that is completely dedicated to prayer and worship of God.
For this reason, it is called the Holy Mont. Geographically it is about 50 Km in length, 8 to 12 Km in width and it covers an area of about 350 square kilometres. The borders of the monastical city are defined on the ground by an imaginary line that starts from the location “FRAGOKASTRO” in the West coast and reaches the cape “ARAPIS” in the opposite end.
The Holy Mont is a self- governed part of the Greek state, subject to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its political aspect and to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinopole as regards its religious aspect. It has been divided into twenty self- governed territories. Each territory consists of a cardinal monastery and some other monastic establishments that surround it (cloisters, cells, cottages, seats, hermitages). All the monasteries are communes (of a convent nature) which means that there is common liturgy, prayer, housing, nourishing and work among the monks.
The Superior of the monastery, being elected by the monks for life, is responsible for the affairs of the monastery. The Superiors of the monasteries are members of the Holy Assembly and exercise legislative authority. Moreover, every year the monastery elects its representative to the Holy Community which exercises administrative authority, while the Holy Supervision exercises executive authority and consists of 4 members, elected by the 5 hierarchically preceding monasteries.
Vatopedi’s so called scandal, aside from being used as a tool by the George Papandreou administration to topple Costas Karamanlis in the 2009 elections, is also the tip of the iceberg in a scandalous case by the socialist government since it has attempted to breach the Constitution in this area and the Charter of this autonomous region. At the same time reports claim that it has also violated international conventions on the admission of Greece into the European Union, as the issue of non-liability to pay Value Added Tax (VAT) from Mont Athos foundations.
In simple words, the Government, via an unconstitutional array of laws, attempted to intervene in regulating customs and fiscal irresponsibility in this region which since 1926 has never been breached despite the difficult historical circumstances. (And just to clear the air… hellasfrappe is not against the government’s move to tax the region, so it can pay its fair share of VAT, but only when it revises the constitution and allows the constitution to say so, anything that goes against the Greek constitution -or against the law- we condemn.)
The Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, the original building of which was built by Emperor Constantine M, is the second in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries. It is located in the middle of the northeast side of the peninsula and its church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The monastery was in the spotlight in 2008 when ALPHA television
presented its story and termed it as a scandal Vatopedi, is indeed
connected to a scandal, but not because there were any criminal acts
tied to it, but because the people behind this affair used it to bring
down the former government of Costas Karamanlis. All those who were
shown to be culprits have since then been cleared of any wrongdoings
today, but nonetheless their political careers have totally been
tarnished. Investigators never found any kickbacks to political leaders
nor money laundering by the monks. The monastery did not even have
offshore companies as some still believe because the companies might be
based in Cyprus, but Cyprus is a member of the European Union and thus
not even this argument stands.
So what did remain…?
What unfortunately remained was a soiled view of the previous Karamanlis
Cabinet, even from some of its very own supporters.
August 2008 when the ruling conservative party of Costas Karamanlis
decided to persecute D. Kontominas (the owner of ALPHA Television), for
criminal acts in other foreign countries. The justice system got
involved and after a careful review passed judgement that there were no
criminal acts noted in the Vatopedi issue. Nonetheless, the “dark side”
of the ruling socialist empire took over, and the subject of Vatopedi
was once again brought to center stage a few weeks later with so many
falsifications that it would take a massive load of lawsuits to ever
clear the garbage that was being broadcasted to the public by both
domestic and foreign mass media giants.
Why? Aside from Kontominas, a peculiar power game against Theodore
Roussopoulos who was the acting government spokesman began being played
after former premier Costas Karamanlis returned from Bucharest in 2008
where he vetoed FYROM’s accession to NATO.
Roussopoulos was suddenly shown as one of the leading offenders in the
Vatopedi issue and from the evidence presented by reporters (especially
three particular names on ALPHA Channel) he became the “spark” that then
ignited the beginning of the end of the Karamanlis government in 2009
by George Papandreou’s PASOK party.
Today we know there was much political intrigue and other dark purposes
that were behind the so called Vatopedi issue as we also know that it
was totally exploited by the ruling socialists at the time, for obvious
reasons, because George Papandreou’s popularity could never challenge
that of Karamanlis.
The monastery was accused of trading low-value land for high-value state property, in what PASOK had claimed (and without any right still does) cost over a billion Euros.
As you will witness in the video below, PASOK MP Mr.Bendeniotis along with PASOK member Mr. Vervesos literally lie through their teeth and cannot support the theory (which they argue has occurred) that the state lost about one billion euros. This has not been proven until now, and the case has been investigated for over two years now on a state level.
When the scandal broke out, PASOK cadres had accused the Karamanlis government of receiving kickbacks for the land trade deals. What many people do not know, but luckily today have come to learn, is that all the land deals were finalized one year before the government of Karamanlis took power.
PASOK had claimed that the conservatives approved the transfer of valuable state property to the monastery in exchange for real estate of a much lower value.
One such example is noted in the video below. As you will see Mr. Bedeniotis argues about the ownership of Lake Vistonida and the land around the lake, claiming that fraud was committed. First question: By whom? This he refuses to answer, so several other lawyers and prosecutors answer for him. What he does not want to admit and refuses to say is that the ownership was recognized by his own government (or the government of Costas Simitis) back in 2003! And this is just one small example of the paranoid statements made by him and Vervesos last night on SKAI channel.
On September 7, 2011 a Wikileaks cable was released which confirmed all this information and proved without a doubt that the issue of Vatopedi was used as a “tool” to kill the popularity of the conservative government of Karamanlis and shake the confidence that Greeks have in the Greek Orthodox Church.
Now on to the juicy part of the story, or as some would say the conspiracy behind this monastery as well as Mont Athos with the utter goal being the Orthodox Church. We all know women
cannot step foot on Mont Athos and this tradition (which dates back
many centuries) is still practiced today. This special status, and the “sacrosanct” as well as the “revolutionary” Brotherhood of this holy place is what is really being threatened.
Mont Athos is like the Vatican in Italy and this “glorified” status is what is really at stake here. It looks like some people do not want another holy state, and are working methodically to brake long-standing traditions such as the one mentioned above.
In such a framework many debates have already been held on a European level on how to lift the “sacrosanct” (or rather how to allow women to step foot on this holy place) which we must once again clarify is a long-standing tradition (right or wrong). At the same time a women’s movement (including men as well) was also set up at a European level in order to do just that and some may also remember that leading the pack in this move was none other than PASOK Eurodeputy Anna Karamano (in 2003).
An article on the Ethnika Themata blog today also revealed (but could not confirm) that all these moves were known by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It was also noted that those who have designed these moves are forces in Europe and the US. The article also underlined that the attempt to remove the “sacrosanct” on Mont Athos has been devised so that they can eventually control the monastic state. (This last bit kind of scared us)
The article notes that in the first phase, the plan aims to abolish one monastery in the east and one in the west. As coincidence would have it… Vatopedi is on the East and will be subject to this “experiment” of control. Obviously the only question that surfaces here is why is the US and Europe so determined in removing the “sacrosanct”? This is what should trouble all Orthodox Christians worldwide!
Well it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that such a move would disturb the delicate balance of unity of Orthodoxy which are intertwined with this country, since Greek Orthodox believers are highly influenced by their faith, and who knows, the consequences will be unpredictable. Need we remind you about Kissinger’s line again? This time.. the victim is the Church! We already see this happening in Constantinopole since the School in Halki (which was establish to give birth to future Patriarchs) is not operating. This should scare all of us… Every Orthodox Christian should be alarmed. Can’t you all see this is part of a wider plan?
Every effort to actually attack, or hit, Mont Athos has not succeeded, because the monastery gains even more supporters than before. People are too sensitive about subjects that touch their faith. And that is why all these dark and shady “plans” will never work.
In fact most believers view them as part of a plan to ‘injure’ the Greek Orthodox Church with the ultimate goal being the “fall” of Mont Athos and whether we agree with the “sacrosanct” or not, we respect this order, because this is just the way things are conducted here.
So now you know why this sudden war against Mont Athos,let us now go into what has occurred since Ephrem was arrested.
When Ephrem returned from Russia where more than three million Russians rushed to pay homage to the Holy Belt of the Virgin Mary (which is safely kept at the Vatopedi Monastery) he also brought back a check of several million euros which he in return gave to the Archbishop of Greece for the church soup kitchens and needs of the poor in the dormitories of the Church.
If he was such a “dangerous” man and had the intention of fleeing the country, as his critics say, then why didn’t he just stay in Russia?
Come on folks. It is so obvious what happened here. Aside from foreigners wanting to control Mont Athos and devising scandals that connected the previous government to them (because the previous government did not bow to them) Ephrem was a pro-Russia monk and apparently this did not sit well with a US led Europe. And we here at hellasfrappe really want you all to think long and hard… is this such a tragedy? What is wrong with being on fair terms with all nations? Why do we have hate Russia and like the US or vice versa. This is wrong. Russians are Orthodox Christians aren’t theyl? Do they or do they not have a right to worship the same artifacts that Greek, or Serbian, or Ethiopian, Orthodox Christians do? Yes they do. And even if they weren’t Orthodox in faith, isn’t it common sense to be on good terms with every nation? Where is the harm?
If the US and Angela Merkel’s idea of Europe is against Russia, that is their problem, not ours as a people. And certainly it is not the problem of our Church!
We are not stupid. This arrest is a DIRECT if not TOTALLY OBVIOUS hit to the Orthodox Church and nothing more. We might not agree with women not being allowed to step on Mont Athos, we might not agree with this area not paying taxes, but we humbly accept these traditions, just like a Muslim accepts the tradition of taking off his shoes before entering his place of worship, or an Italian Catholic wearing a headress when attending mass. These are traditions. This is what the Orthodox faith is all about… tradition. After all if you look up the word this is what any bloody dictionary will tell you. Orthodox means TRADITION, TRADITION, TRADITION!
So now the world is safe because Ephrem is behind bars. Oh really?
People wake up…
Demonizing a monk, and monasticism and the Orthodox Church is a direct hit at Hellenism.
The Church is directly linked to our history as a nation and because it follows its own traditions, keeps us in line. In the face of the monk Ephrem we allowed (and fell victim to) the media and corrupt and power-thirsty politicians to build a vulgar campaign against the Holy Mountain and the Orthodox Church. And we here at hellasfrappe know very well that the PASOK party has on more than one occasion gone against the Orthodox Church. Need we remind you of the statements made by their party cadre Nikos Sifounakis on STAR channel when he admitted that he wanted to REMOVE the cross from the Greek flag?
They cannot fool us… we know very well that things are not the way they are being presented, because as you will all witness in the 180 minute discussion below both PASOK members could not back up any of their arguments.