Greek parliament nixes bill exempting Athonite properties from taxes

Athens, August 1, 2017

Photo: Photo:

Greek parliament discussed a proposal to change the taxation on the properties of Athonite monasteries at its regular session on Friday. In the end, the proposal to repeal taxes on various Athonite properties did not receive the required number of votes, reports Agion Oros.

The bill, proposed by three deputies from the SYRIZA, Independent Greeks, and Centrists’ Union parties provided an exemption from taxes for all real estate objects belonging to Athonite monasteries, both within and beyond the boundaries of the Holy Mountain. As aforementioned, the bill on “large objects of real estate properties” did not receive the required votes.

The problem of high tax rates for Athonite monasteries is one of the main themes of the bilateral discussions between the Greek authorities and the administration of Mt. Athos. The conflict began in 2012 with the Greek government’s adoption of a new tax law. Among other things, it provides for the taxation of Athonite podvoriyes located outside the mountain but within Greece.

These assets are valued at several million euros, thus taxation upon them lays a heavy burden upon the brethren of the various Athonite monasteries. The problem is particularly acute given the fact that the real estate properties of the Athonite monasteries beyond the bounds of the mountain are their main source of financing, not only for restorations on the monasteries and preserving their reliquaries, but also for giving the possibility of receiving thousands of pilgrims annually.

Archimandrite Gregory (Zumis), abbot of Dochariou Monastery on Mt. Athos, has commented forcefully on the taxation situation. According to him, the current authorities of Greece “cannot be called real rulers (incidentally, like the previous governments of post-war Greece, which were no better).” A right and proper government should not establish the same taxes for all citizens and regions of a country, Fr. Gregory writes.

“We live on the Holy Mountain. Some of the monasteries on this sacred land have inherited fertile plains, but others—arid and barren mountain slopes. Thus, some of the monasteries (thank God!) can provide for themselves, but others struggle to survive, relying on people’s charity.”

The Holy Mountain has survived for 1,000 years thanks to the reason and care of the governing authorities who have sacrificed many interests to preserve the holy site, the archimandrite writes.

The state helps even the smallest administrative units, but for each of the separate monastic administrative units on the mountain there is no help. “Even if they view us as prisoners, it should be taken into account that we need water, and roads, and light, and food. And we have natural disasters and cataclysmic weather, leaving nothing behind,” Fr. Gregory underlined.

“Miserable Greece was counting on a restored Holy Mount Athos to promote the godless European Union,” he lamented.

The authorities did not take into account all the necessary annual upkeep that comes from the monastic buildings’ exposure to the sea and the harsh weather conditions, he writes.

“Today even fishermen have sonar to see where there’s fish and where there’s not. If, dear ministers, you have not eyes to identify which areas to harvest, and which not—take the sonar, so your net would be full, and we would not be destroyed,” the abbot concluded.


Anthony8/1/2017 11:20 pm
This is all part of the NWO attack on Greece and Orthodoxy. The greatest enemies of Greece are not turks, germans, amerikans or albanians. The greatest enemies of the Greek people are their leaders who attack the people, culture and Orthodoxy from within as they have done almost since the country was freed from the ottomans. I am reading a fantastic book at the minute called ORTHODOXY AND THE KINGDOM OF SATAN by Father Spyridon Bailey. I so highly recommend this book as it explains everything about what is happening today in the world - in terms of the NWO and how we came to where we are. Truly an eye opener and required reading for all Orthodox.
T.D.8/1/2017 6:23 pm
Perhaps Athos could be made its own nation state, just in technicality, like the vatican within Italy. (Not meaning to to compare orthodoxy with papist heresy, just the property legalities situation. )
Fr Anthony8/1/2017 5:41 pm
The title of this is very misleading....
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 4000 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 4000

to our mailing list

* indicates required