A Hagiorite monk has is being sent to prison for “accusations” they cannot prove.

Abbot Ephraim
Abbot Ephraim
It is extremely provocative to say the least to put into prison the Abbot of the Vatopaidi monastery, Efrem, when politicians who have confessed to accepting bribes are still at large! The judicial council decided on December 23 to remand into custody Fr. Ephrem in order to ensure that he will not leave the country. The prosecutor clashed with the investigator on the issue. After the elder’s apology, the prosecutor, Panayiotis Matzounis, argued in favor of the imposition of restrictive conditions rather than the custody remand. The conditions were prohibition of travel, bail of 200,000 Euro and personal appearance at a police station twice a month. Mr. Yiannis Matzouranis, who appeared for the Elder argued that ‘the remand into custody decision had no moral or legal base’.

The custody decision against a clergyman renowned world wide for his charitable work and spiritual mission a few days before Christmas comes to add to the woes which befell the country as a result of the gloomy political and financial conditions. Needless to say no one has so far been accused or found guilty or imprisoned for the country’s degradation! It was only yesterday that the Vice President of the government, E. Venizelos told the plenary of the House of Representatives that any investigation into money laundering in Switzerland on behalf of Mps constitutes a mockery since ‘anyone can set up an offshore company rather than keeping a personal account’.

Deep down no one wants to remember those who confessed that they had accepted bribes from Siemens, which they either put in their pockets (as in the Manteli case) or in the party coffers (as in the Tsoukatou case). Yet justice and the political system have found a monk as a target for their purging; a monk whom for a long time they hold hostage to political intrigue without any evidence as to his personal involvement in any issue under investigation. In this indescribable Greek reality show, monk Ephrem is judged as ‘likely to leave the country’ and is remanded into custody. Yes, during the entire time of his judicial ordeal, this ‘likely to leave’ monk has visited several countries and gave 48 presentations. Recently he even visited Moscow at the invitation of the Russian President and the Prime Minister. At the end of these visits, Elder Ephrem always returned to his country and his monastery even though he suspected that the outcome of this whole process might be regrettable.

Elder Ephrem of Vatopaidi is therefore accused of financial machinations, him that once returned from Russia, gave away all the money he had gathered from donations (made by the faithful venerating the Holy shrine: “the belt of the Virgin” during his recent pilgrimage to Russia) to the Greek dioceses and a philanthropic canteen from the cities of Thessaloniki and Athens, to help the suffering believers due to Greece’ recent economic crisis.

Abbot Father Ephraim received the unexpected news with Christian love and deep faith in the divine providence. He appeared ready to comply with any provision of the authorities, including preventive detention. Elder Ephrem addressing to his monastic community of Vatopaidi, had asked the fathers of Vatopaidi to receive these news with spiritual eyes and not to condemn those who accuse him, and to continue their religious asceticism in unity, love and harmony.



to our mailing list

* indicates required