Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Abba Ephrem of Vatopedi Freed from Prison and Returned to His Monastery

The god-pleasing Abba Ephrem of Vatopedi (1955- ) no longer sits in a prison cell… there IS a God in Heaven...

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Late Friday night, Archimandrite Ephrem, the Abbot of Vatopedi Monastery, returned to Mount Athos after a three-month detention in Korydallos Prison. On Saturday, Aleksandr Gatilin, a spokesman for the Foundation of St Andrew the First-Called told our Interfax-Religion correspondent that yesterday the Appeals Board of the Athens City Court decided to change the measure of restraint of Fr Ephrem. He went on to say that after Fr Ephrem posted bail and filed the necessary documentation, Fr Ephrem went by car to the port of Ierissos, more than 600 kilometres (@372 miles) from Athens, where he boarded a boat. His monks and his spiritual children accompanied Abba Ephrem, and a crowd of about 700 people greeted him at the pier of Vatopedi Monastery. The boats in the harbour tooted their horns and the crowd gathered about Igumen Ephrem sang spiritual songs. The clergy of the monastery were in full festive vestments. The brotherhood, its employees, and pilgrims held lit candles and formed a living “corridor” through which Fr Ephrem passed as he headed a procession to the monastery.

Gatilin told us, “The many believers gathered there celebrated; an Easter atmosphere prevailed that evening in Vatopedi. Before entering the monastery grounds proper, the brotherhood vested Fr Ephrem in his Igumen’s mantle. The bells tolled as the Abbot entered the monastery grounds and went to the Cathedral of the Annunciation, where he served a short molieben”. Addressing the gathering, Fr Ephrem said, “I left on 26 December, the day of the Most Holy Mother of God, and I’m back again on her day (the Orthodox feastday of the Praises of the Most Holy Mother of God). Whilst I was in custody, when I called upon the name of the Most Holy Mother of God, I immediately received the strength that I needed”. Igumen Ephrem spoke of how the inmates gave him “great love and respect”, and how he heard the confessions of almost all the prisoners in the wing of the prison where he lived, along with the confessions of many of the prison staff, too. Abba Ephrem noted, “A devout Christian told me yesterday that I’d be released. I asked him why he thought so. He replied that he had a dream, how he came to the prison, and found no one there, but he met a woman in dark robes, who said, ‘Do not seek Elder Ephrem, he’s here at my house, in Vatopedi’”. He acknowledged that he was grateful for every thing that happened to him, that he forgave everyone, and that he did his best to keep his soul pure, “not provoking a single thought directed against anyone”.

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. Commenting on the current changes and Fr Ephrem’s current freedom, the Found of St Andrew the First-Called expressed its support for Abba Ephrem and voiced the hope that “justice and fairness will prevail in the end, with Archimandrite Ephrem cleared of all charges”.

31 March 2012

Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=44863

Friday, 3 February 2012

Archbishop Ieronymos Liapis of Athens Calls Austerity “Fatal”

This is Greece! But Greece isn’t Giving Up Yet!

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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On Thursday, Archbishop Ieronymos Liapis of Athens and all Greece, the First Hierarch of the Local Church of Greece, warned that rising poverty in the crisis-hit country could trigger a “social explosion”, as the government raced to push through more cost-cutting reforms needed to conclude debt deals and avoid a default in March. He wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, “Homelessness and even hunger… phenomena seen during (World War Two)… have reached nightmare proportions. Patience amongst Greeks is running out, giving way to a sense of anger, and we can’t ignore the danger of a social explosion any longer. The medicine we’re taking has proven fatal for the nation. More painful and more unjust measures are now set to follow along the same hopeless course”.

Greece is promising rescue creditors tougher austerity measures as it nears agreement for a second bailout worth €130 billion (5.184 trillion Roubles. 171.1 billion USD. 108.1 billion UK Pounds) with its partners in the 17-nation Euro Zone and the International Monetary Fund, and a related deal with private creditors that’ll see €100 billion (3.99 trillion Roubles. 131.6 billion USD. 83.15 billion UK Pounds) wiped off the national debt. Without those agreements, Greece faces bankruptcy next month, as it’s unable to cover a €14.5 billion (578.5 billion Roubles. 19.1 billion USD. 12.06 billion UK Pounds) bond repayment due on 20 March. Under pressure from the government and rescue creditors, leaders of Greece’s unions and employers resumed talks to slash labour costs in the private sector. The two sides said they made progress, but haven’t yet reached an agreement after their three-hour meeting, and said they would inform the government and rescue creditors of their respective positions.

Debt inspectors from the EU, IMF, and European Central Bank… known as the troika… are currently visiting Athens, and insist the cuts are needed to boost Greece’s sluggish competitiveness. Greek government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told privately-run Mega Channel TV, “This is a very difficult negotiation and, of course, there are differences of opinion, so we’ll see where that leads. As a country, we’ve reached the brink of official bankruptcy. We’ve been borrowing for so many years; now, we have our backs to the wall, so, we have difficult decisions to make”.

The Greek Church stepped up a charity drive this week, during a cold snap that left much of the country in sub-freezing temperatures and a growing number of homeless people at risk. Unemployment in Greece surged to 19.2 percent, with the jobless rate for people under age 25 at 47.2 percent, according to figures for October from the EU statistics agency, Eurostat. Also on Thursday, workers from the state-run National Health Service gathered in protest outside the Health Ministry to protest spending cuts in healthcare, including a new round of wage reductions that took effect on 1 February. One group of protesters carried an empty coffin outside the central Athens building.

2 February 2012

Derek Gatopoulos

Associated Press

As quoted in Deseret News

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700221380/Greek-church-leader-says-austerity-fatal.html?s_cid=rss-14

Editor’s Note:

Vladyki Ieronymos takes the same foursquare position on Social Justice and Economic Fairness that His Holiness does! I’ll bet you that’s one reason why Abba Ephrem rots in a prison cell. Remember Abba Ephrem? Don’t forget that Langley supports Abba Ephrem’s imprisonment and that they toppled Ecumenical Patriarch Maximos Vaportzis in 1948… to put a disastrous American-sponsored hierarch on the throne in the Phanar. The Church does NOT support the POV that we need to slash the working people so that the filth in McMansions get through this crisis with no pain or sacrifice whatsoever. The Mitt Romneys of this world CAN afford to dig deeper, but they REFUSE to… and call that refusal GOOD. Reflect on that…

I support Vladyki Ieronymos without reservation… as should all decent people. As for the bondholders… “let them eat brioche”… they’ve throttled ordinary folks long enough. They could close off part of their McMansion to save on the heating bills, dontcha know! That’s what they’re always telling us…

BMD

Saturday, 14 January 2012

14 January 2012. The More Things Change… Greece in 1950… Greece in 2012… What’s the Diff?

Marshallised Greece… Uncle Sam Screws Greece Himself and Bleats… “No One Better Dare Intervene in Greece’s Affairs!”

Boris Yefimov

1950

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Greece in 1950…

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Greece in 2012…

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Who’s on first? It sure as hell ain’t the common folks! Greece in 1950… Greece in 2012… it smells the same, doesn’t it? THIS is why Abba Ephrem sits in a prison cell. What about his “human rights?” I guess that only counts if you kiss the bums of the banksters, pols, and media. All others can suck wind… that’s what I see… and I’m NOT alone.

BMD 

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