October 7, 2009

Esphigmenou Monks Convicted

Monks Convicted for Refusing Orders

(AP, October 2, 2009)

Thessaloniki, Greece - A court has convicted a rebel abbot and 13 of his monks of obstructing the functioning of their 1,000-year-old monastery by refusing orders to leave it.

The 14 were given one-year suspended prison sentences, court officials in Thessaloniki said last week. The occupants of Esphigmenou Monastery are in a bitter fight with Orthodox Christian authorities. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, has declared the rebels schismatic and ordered them out of the walled monastery on the autonomous Mount Athos peninsula in northern Greece.