January 5, 2012

Patriarch Ilia Saddened By Arrest of Elder Ephraim

January 4, 2012

Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II expressed sadness over the arrest by the Greek authorities of Vatopaidi Abbot Ephraim.

"We are saddened by the fact that Abbot Ephraim is deprived of his liberty", said the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, during a sermon at the service at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, reports the Greek agency "Romfea."

Catholicos Ilia said that recently Father Ephraim, superior of the Monastery of Vatopaidi on Mount Athos, visited Russia, where he brought the belt of the the Most Holy Theotokos, which was venerated by millions of believers.

"Now we found out that Archimandrite Ephraim has been imprisoned. This is a sad event. I ask all of you to pray for Father Ephraim," said the Georgian Patriarch, who also noted that he is "very saddened by this event."

Ilia II noted that there also are Georgian monks in Vatopaidi. "We express our sympathy to the entire monastic community", said the Primate of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

"I wish you peace and joy. Love your enemies. This, of course, is difficult. But if you can not love, at least pray for them", said the Patriarch at the end of his sermon.

The Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia said that in the next few days he will make an official statement in support of the superior of Vatopaidi.