Mt. Athos, May 8, 2018
The abbot of Vatopedi Monastery, one of the 20 ruling monasteries on Mt. Athos, Archimandrite Ehpraim (Koutsou), has sent a letter to the Cypriot parliament, urging the island government not to legalize abortion in the country, reports UNIAN.
Fr. Ephraim has often spoken out forcefully against abortion.
Abortion is currently prohibited in Cyprus, but there is now a question of changing the law after the European Parliament told representatives of the Cypriot government that outlawing abortion is considered a violation of women’s rights in the European Union. Of course, the Orthodox Church does not support this position, as a human is alive, made in the image of God, from the very moment of conception.
Representatives of the Cypriot clergy have appealed to government on the matter, pointing to the sinfulness of their intentions.
“The deprivation of the unborn child’s right to life is one of the most heinous crimes a mother can commit,” Abbot Ephraim wrote.
He also noted that the decision of the Cypriot Parliament could provoke problems of a national and demographic character, leading to the decline of the Greek-Cypriot people.
The Athonite abbot has called on the Cypriot government to reexamine the bill. Despite this, it was officially declared that they refused to accept Fr. Ephraim’s letter.
He addressed the issue of abortion in Orthodox countries in an address to “For Life” festival in Moscow in 2014, saying, “It is unacceptable that such terrible crimes as abortions are committed in Orthodox countries, moreover, in such large quantities! This phenomenon must make us think seriously about it; I would say, we must be shocked and distressed, we need to raise the alarm.”
During the course of the shooting of a pro-life documentary in 2016, he addressed the issue again:
“You need to work hard and to do your best in order to live according to Church rules, if you want to seriously combat abortion. Today people easily kill each other—parents kill their own children. We are praying on Holy Mount Athos, and you should try and explain to people that abortion is dreadful murder. A heavy responsibility lies on the shoulders of those who allow abortions. A crime is committed by physicians, parents and the woman who gets an abortion. Abortions are prohibited in Muslim countries. But, unfortunately, in our countries where we keep the truth of Orthodoxy they are legalized—and that is very sad. That is why all of us must struggle with the murder which is called abortion,” he said.
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