Moscow, March 27, 2017
Archimandrite Ephraim (Kutsu), abbot of Vatopedi Monastery on Mt. Athos, and thirteen other defendants were acquitted last week in a case concerning a land exchange between the Greek government and the monastery. The case dragged on for many years and saw Elder Ephraim spending three months in jail from December 2011 to March 2012.
A few days after the announcement of his acquittal, Tsargrad TV aired his commentary on the matter. In the monastic’s view, the entire case was a spiritual attack: “After taking the Holy Cincture to Russia1, because the people received such great benefit, as soon as we returned, the devil immediately showed his strength: we were summoned to an interrogation for preliminary questioning—we were put in jail like criminals.”
“We endured this all with the help of God, reconciled ourselves to it and went to jail. We thank all our brothers who prayed with us, and who endured all of this with us. We are grateful to all who helped us bear this heavy cross which the Lord allowed because of our sins,” Archimandrite Ephraim continued, showing the humility that comes from years of ascetic labors.
He also referred to the words of St. Paisios the Athonite on Christ’s help for all who are unjustly condemned. “As Elder Paisios said, ‘The first to be unjustly accused and condemned was Christ. Therefore, He blesses with both hands those who are also treated unfairly.’ We thank Christ. We thank all of you, and pray for you all,” Elder Ephraim assured, concluding, “Blessed Pascha!”