According to Metropolitan Amvrosios Lenis of Kalavrita and Aigialeia, the EP’s behaviour towards Igumen Ephrem’s just another example of its disgusting behaviour. As quoted by the Greek media outlet Romfea, Vladyki Amvrosios said, “we’ve already said this time and again, but I have to say it again, sometimes the EP behaves just like an evil stepmother! That’s right, in our humble opinion, that’s how she acted in this case”. In his opinion, the mere fact that the police arrested an abbot of one of one of the largest and most ancient monasteries of Mount Athos on the eve of Christmas spurred many individuals, both religious and secular, to speak in support of Fr Ephrem. Metropolitan Amvrosios went on to say, “The only exception to this was the discordant position of the EP, which used some of our weaker brethren amongst the bishops as their mouthpieces”. Vladyki Amvrosios pointed up that Vatopedi Monastery sends money directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch, yet, the EP refuses to support Fr Ephrem and the monastery, but it quietly enjoys the use of its resources and reputation.
As reported in December 2011, a Greek court ordered Fr Ephrem’s arrest in connection with an investigation of real estate transactions between Vatopedi and the Greek state in 2008. In late December, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias wrote a letter to Greek President Karolos Papoulias asking for Archimandrite Ephrem’s release from custody, expressing surprise at his pre-trial incarceration as “[Fr Ephrem] doesn’t pose a threat to society and repeatedly expressed his willingness to cooperate with the investigation”. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, the head of the MP DECR, described the arrest of Fr Ephrem as an attack on Athonite monasticism in particular and on Orthodoxy in general. Previously, influential Russian politicians, the MP, the RF MID, as well as the Foundation of St Andrew the First-Called voiced support for Igumen Ephrem. This was in recognition of the fact that Abba Ephrem was part of the delegation from Vatopedi Monastery that brought the Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God to Russia for a stay lasting from 20 October to 28 November, going to various cities throughout the country, where nearly 3 million people venerated the relic, including top political leaders.
17 January 2012