Russian monks could be evicted from Mt. Athos: ROC rep comments on media reports

Moscow, May 17, 2022

The Russian St. Panteleimon's Monastery on Mt. Athos. Photo: The Russian St. Panteleimon's Monastery on Mt. Athos. Photo:     

There could be an attempt to forcibly evict Russian monks from Holy Mount Athos soon. This could be connected with the upcoming visit of Patriarch Bartholomew at the end of this month, warns a representative of the Russian Church’s Department for External Church Relations.

“Patriarch Bartholomew is scheduled to visit Mount Athos at the end of May, and perhaps this will coincide with the police action that the Greek police have already carried out against the monks of Esphigmenou Monastery who disagree with Bartholomew’s policy,” Fr. Dimitry Safonov, the Secretary for Interreligious Relations, said at a press conference on Monday, reports TASS.

“I’m not saying that Esphigmenou Monastery [a schismatic monastery on Mt. Athos—Ed.] took the right line—that’s a separate conversation—but as a precedent: just a political eviction of monks, forcibly, with the use of force, with the use of special means. And we fear that, perhaps, Russian monasticism, the Russian monks of Athos, could be threatened with the same thing,” Fr. Dmitry said.

A number of reports about supposed Kremlin influence on the Holy Mountain and the corresponding need to expel Russian and pro-Russian monks have appeared in the Greek and international media in recent weeks.

According to a recent article from Vima Orthodoxias, the recent glut of articles portraying Mt. Athos as being largely under Kremlin influence is meant to prepare the ground for a coming expulsion of Russian monks. Pronews-gr reports that Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland is directly involved in the political pressure “to neutralize Russian influence” on Mt. Athos.

“Patriarch Bartholomew recently visited Greece and met with the Prime Minister and received from him, according to the press, according to open sources, consent to evict Russian monasticism from Mt. Athos,” the DECR rep commented. This meeting is mentioned by Vima Orthodoxias and other sources.

Fr. Dimitry also points specifically to an article from the German outlet BILD as part of the information war against Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. Such outlets “are now devoting entire pages about the alleged need to evict all Russian monks from Mt. Athos, although there’re so few of them there,” he said.

While there were thousands of Russian monks on the Holy Mountain in the early 20th century, the number is now very small, Fr. Dmitry explained, mostly living at St. Panteleimon’s Monastery.

Note that Ukrainian monks also make up a significant percentage of the brotherhood of St. Panteleimon’s Monastery.

The BILD article is based on a “secret report about the criminal activities of Kremlin-affiliated monks on the secluded Mount Athos” that is also referenced in Greek articles, which claims that Russian oligarchs on Mt. Athos were talking about the war in Ukraine before it happened, and that far-right Russians are occupying the schismatic Esphimenou Monastery.

According to Fr. Bartholomew, the abbot of New Esphigmenou, a brotherhood organized by Patriarch Bartholomew to replace the schismatic Esphigmenou, Russian oligarchs frequently visited and donated to Mt. Athos in order to curry favor with the powerful monasteries and facilitate supposed Russian expansion. The abbot and other sources also level serious legal accusations against Russians on Mt. Athos, including money laundering and human trafficking.

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Dana9/10/2022 5:01 pm
It is always the small crowd that holds the truth. Look back at history. How many people supported Jesus and how many against Him. I always loved Russia and that has not changed a bit. May God put an end to the war. I am hurt for the lives lost of Russian and Ukrainian people.
Interesting5/18/2022 9:17 pm
Wasn't Orthdoxy being outlawed phrofecieced? Is this the beginning? Also the German Newspaper is hilarious. Especially that part with human trafficking. Really interesting accusations
Gabriel5/18/2022 8:40 pm
Theodoros says it rightly, Christ is the head of the church and He will never let it be destroyed by the machinations of evil men. That is the reason I don't fear the corruption of the sophists who seek to destroy the church from within. They will fail. It is upsetting to see what they are doing, and even more so when God allows them to temporarily succeed. But just remember who wins the ultimate victory.
Seraphim 5/17/2022 11:22 pm
The Ecumenical Patriarchate is a stooge of the USA, Freemasory and the NWO - it is diametrically opposed to Christianity, long live the brothers at Esphigenou! Is it schismatic to reject some who rejects Christ? (Bartholomew says that all reigions are ultimately the same). The same is also true in many respects of the Greek Church as it is (ultimately) funded by the EU gravy-train. Athos itself is embroiled in this same weasely game. Can you enter into a pact with the Antichrist and maintain the true faith? The Russians are probably better off out of it.
Benjamin5/17/2022 11:06 pm
A Catholic friend of mine was at a gas station where a Black man bumped into him at the cash register while buying beer. My friend then yelled to him while entering his car "you could try saying excuse me next time ". The man ran over to his car, jumped into the passenger seat, and pulled back his fist to hit him. He broke eye contact to examine the necklace hanging from him-- a gold and diamond Jesus with the crown of thorns. He examined it for a moment, then glanced back up at him. The man had seen him look at the necklace, and then remembered what it represented. He pulled back his fist, said sorry, as did my friend, went back to his own car, and drove off. After telling me the story I remarked "must have been the invisible brotherhood of Christ" to which he agreed. Its weird to think, an Italian-American Catholic and Black (probably) Baptist were able to reconcile more than Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox. The anti-Russian attitudes today are greater than even during the Cold War. Very bizarre world we're living in
Cat5/17/2022 9:37 pm
What's next...erasement of russian language from Google translator? Watch out the Kremlin influence under your beds.
Theodoros5/17/2022 6:32 pm
Bartholomew is an unscrupulous collaborator with evil. As a Greek I am outraged that American officials are imposing their will on Greece and the holy mountain. The western world has made very clear that religious freedom is nonexistent. Christ however is the head of the Church and those who attempt to control his Church will go like the communists. Bartholomew and Elpidophoros will be condemned by a future synod at a time when Orthodoxy has been freed.
Victoria Lynne Heim5/17/2022 6:27 pm
As a Religious Studies Scholar, I pray for the Spirit of Holiness to prevail among the faithful.
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