Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry and New Esphigmenou Monastery exchange accusations

Mt. Athos, July 19, 2022

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Last week, the Russian Ministry of Foreign called out various Greek media publications that have leveled various accusations against the Russian Orthodox Church.

In particular, the Ministry pointed to statements from the abbot of New Esphigmenou on Mt. Athos, which prompted a response from the monastery, calling on the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protect Mt. Athos from foreign intrusions.

Recall that New Esphigmenou is among the handful of Athonite monasteries that support the Ukrainian schismatics.

“Since the beginning of Russia’s Special Military Operation, a number of Greek media outlets have been playing their violin of ‘anti-Russian solidarity’ in the hysterical Western media orchestra, obviously conducted by Washington … following propaganda orders from across the ocean,” the Russian Ministry writes in its Review of unreliable publications on Russian topics in the Greek media (February-June 2022).

“Among the most striking manifestations of outright disinformation and pandering to the Nazi aspirations of Kiev” are “aggressive attacks on the ROC and its clergy,” the Ministry writes. “Discrediting the activities of the ROC and Patriarch Kirill personally remained a favorite topic.”

The Ministry points to articles that speak of Moscow’s desire to spread its influence on Mt. Athos and challenge the authority of Patriarch Bartholomew through the Church as “an instrument of the Kremlin’s foreign policy.”

“As an illustration of the Kremlin’s ‘attempts to destabilize the situation on the Holy Mountain,’ a number of publications cited statements by Abbot Archimandrite Bartholomew of ‘New Esphigmenou’ Monastery about the arrival of ‘Russian ultranationalists’ on Mt. Athos, allegedly arranging provocative processions with the banners of the Russian Empire. In addition, a representative of the clergy spoke about Russian plans to establish ecclesiastical exarchates in Greece and Istanbul,” the Ministry notes in particular.

New Esphigmenou Monastery issued a response yesterday:

On July 14, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, “Review of unreliable publications on Russian topics in the Greek media.”

In this announcement, various reports from the Greek media about Russian actions are presented as fake news and as alleged propaganda under the guidance of Washington!

Among other things, the announcement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also refers to statements of the Abbot of Esphigmenou Monastery, Archim. Bartholomew about the presence and action of Russian nationalists with flags of the Russian Empire in the occupied central building of the monastery.

The abbot of an Athonite monastery is personally targeted by the Foreign Ministry of a major power with all that this may entail. What is the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs doing to protect the Athonites and the borders of Mt. Athos from foreign interventions and intrusions?

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Jesse Dominick7/20/2022 12:51 pm
Daniel, New Esphigmenou is located on Mt. Athos. True, they aren't in the historical Esphigmenou monastery, but they are housed in Karyes. You're correct that it's essentially just a mouthpiece for the Patriarchate.
Panagiotis7/20/2022 2:33 am
So what if they were flying the Russian Imperial Flag. Greek People love Holy Tzar Martyr Nicholas II and the Orthodox Monarchy of Russia. Many Greek People have Icons of Holy Tzar Martyr Nicholas II and the Royal Martyr Family. He was the King of all the Orthodox People. Let us pray for the restoration of the Orthodox Monarchies in all of the Orthodox Nations. The internationalists and their monster communist puppets, and others, destroyed our Orthodox Monarchies. But no one will destroy the special bond and love between all of the Orthodox People. We must remain united, as the problems that exist now will eventually pass. We must return to our conservative roots, and we must reject no good liberalism!..... Oh, before I forget, when my Russian Brothers fulfill the prophecies and liberate Constantinople, will anyone object if they are flying the Flag of Imperial Orthodox Russia?......Just my humble opinion.
Daniel7/20/2022 12:51 am
An aside to the editors: New Esphigmenou is not located on Mt. Athos, it is the paper brotherhood set up by Bartholomew to replace the brotherhood of Esphigmenou but they do not have the monastery yet. The opinions of its "abbot" are of little value as it is simply a dependency of the Patriarch. The views of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is of little value on an Orthodox website either much of it amounts to mud slinging. IS it really spiritually profitable?
anonymous7/19/2022 11:47 pm
Let us please not close our eyes and wishfully pretend that the "New Esphigmenou" charlatans are merely ignorant pawns of foreign powers such as the USA. Or have you already forgotten how they treated the "old" Esphigmenou brotherhood? They called on the Greek police to beat and rob those them, to banish and imprison them, to seize and hand over their property to them. Similarly, they attempted to have Greece prevent Russian monks traveling to Saint Panteleimon Monastery from entering Athos. And more recently, they invited foreign powers onto the Holy Mountain to discipline monks who spoke out against experimental gene-therapy and non-vaccines during the kungflu plandemic. Now, once again, they are clamoring for Greek interference and pretending to be victims "Russian disinformation". This is simply more deliberate and wilful evil from the false brotherhood of "New Esphigmenou" themselves.
Theodoros 7/19/2022 6:22 pm
Mount Athos is being harmed by the intervention of American secular interests. The evil Victoria Nuland has made comments about the alleged activities of Russia on the holy mountain. In reality, Russia has done nothing against the holy mountain. It is Washington that is using Mount Athos in its anti Russian campaign as it has used the Greek speaking Churches to create the Ukrainian schism. Everyone knows it is the schismatic Ukrainian entity that brought nationalism to the holy mountain when those pseudo bishops raised the Ukrainian flag. When did the Russians behave like this on Mount Athos? American officials are atheists who see in religious institutions the opportunity to use them as political assets. The real piety of Russians who are sincere in their visits to Mount Athos is something they do not understand.
Alex7/19/2022 5:14 pm
The abbot can be forgiven for not being familiar with politics, of course, but Russian Tsarists - the kind of people who would be carrying imperial flags - are not nationalists. The Russian Empire was always a multi-ethnic state.
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