Voices from Russia

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Actions of the Greek Authorities Against Igumen Ephrem Disgraced Orthodox Greece

The god-pleasing Abba Ephrem of Vatopedi (1955- ) sits in a prison cell… the bum-kissing American-puppet politicians sit scot-free in the Canaries… what’s WRONG with that picture?


The archpastors of the Local Church of Greece strongly criticised the decision by the Greek authorities to arrest Archimandrite Ephrem, the abbot of Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos. In the view of the Greek episcopate, the arrest of the well-known Athonite elder was only a trick by the authorities, who’re trying to cover up their crimes and to divert people’s attentions from the economic problems, thereby, dishonouring Orthodox Greece, RIA-Novosti reported. Last weekend, the cops arrested Archimandrite Ephrem on the orders of a Greek court, and confined him to his cell at the monastery, as the doctors with detected a viral infection, an aggravation of degenerative disc disease, and elevated blood sugar levels. The time limit on the enforcement of the warrant will expire on Monday afternoon.

On a broadcast of Skai TV, Metropolitan Nikolaos Hatzinikolaou of Mesogeia and Lavreotiki said, “I wondered… why should anyone consider [Igumen Ephrem] dangerous? Does he want to sell [the government] the lake a second time? Or, does he want to take the [Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God] and go with it to Russia, and never come back? You can’t see any logic in this decision by the court. I can see the intent in all of this. Firstly, they’re trying to cover the responsibility of those who brought us to the current tragic situation, and, secondly, to attack the concept of the Church in modern society by striking at the person of Fr Ephrem”.

Metropolitan Chrysostomos Sklifas of Patras believed that those who decided to arrest [Abba Ephrem] directed it against the Church itself. Romfea.gr quoted him as saying, “They struck at the credibility of the monks and the Church in a way that defied good-sense and religious feeling, especially during this holy season”. The Church of Greece celebrates Christmas on 25 December, but the Athonite monasteries, as well as Russia, continue to use the traditional Church calendar, and celebrate Christmas on 7 January. For his part, Metropolitan Andreas Trebelas of Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani, and Konitsa and Exarch  of Northern Epirus said, “These actions are mainly directed against the Church, and, of course, against Holy Mount Athos, to the delight of the Church’s opponents”. Vladyki Andreas pointed up that he didn’t know the exact content of the judicial decisions. Metropolitan Nikolaos Protopappas of Phthiotis stated, in his opinion, “The dark forces decided to strike at Athos”.

In an article on the site Romfea.gr, Metropolitan Pavlos Ioannou of Sisanion and Siatista wrote, in his opinion, the arrest of Igumen Ephrem was revelatory, as the police arrested none of the politicians responsible for numerous economic scandals. He said, “Was anyone arrested by the Greek judges for the ‘bubble’ on the stock exchange, for the bribes taken in the Siemens scandal, for the economic catastrophe in our country, for the international humiliation of its people? Finally, the Greek justice, albeit belatedly, found the guilty party, the one responsible for all the troubles… Igumen Ephrem”. Vladyki Pavlos related that with a bitter smile. Metropolitan Athanasios Nikolaou of LimassolAmathous, and Kourion, of the Local Church of Cyprus, supports Igumen Ephrem, who’s a native of Cyprus. Metropolitan Athanasios, who formerly was a member of the brotherhood of Vatopedi Monastery, said, “It seems that Greece has solved all its other problems, but, now, there’s a threat from Elder Ephrem”.

The First Hierarch of the Local Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos Liapis,  Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, said earlier that although he wasn’t fully informed on the situation, however, he was “deeply concerned” by the arrest of [Igumen Ephrem] so close to Christmas. The Monastic Republic of Mount Athos isn’t under the omofor of the Church of Greece; nevertheless, it has close ties with it. The twenty ruling monasteries of Mount Athos are the under the EP’s canonical umbrella, which had no immediate comment on the situation. Greek television also cited in detail the negative comments from Russia concerning the arrest of Igumen Ephrem. For instance, the Foundation of St Andrew the First-Called, which sponsored the tour of the Vatopedi delegation with the Belt of the Most Holy Mother of God in Russia, said, “We believe that such actions can only be explained by the political perspective of certain circles in the Greek establishment, who wish to demonstrate to the West their willingness to deny the principles of spiritual life enshrined in the Greek constitution”. In response to this comment, an unnamed source in the Greek judiciary told Mega TV in Athens, “We must condemn the interference of third parties in Greek justice”.

Emilios Poligenis, the head of the Greek church news website Romfea.gr, told RIA-Novosti that, in the meantime, Fr Ephrem performs his monastic obedience in prison and carries out his priestly duties, saying, “Today, they brought his vestments to the prison, and, on Sunday, he’ll be able to serve in the prison chapel. The elder’s calm and in as good spirits as anyone can be in such trials. The prison authorities treat him very well. Whatever he needs, they give it to him”. He added that they allow Fr Ephrem to follow a special diet because of his diabetes. So far, [Abba Ephrem] doesn’t complain of any health problems, but he recently had a viral infection. According to Poligenis, Fr Ephrem didn’t resist his arrest, and he doesn’t comment on the progress of the case, referring his interlocutors to his lawyers. Metropolitan Nikolaos Hatzinikolaou of Mesogeia and Lavreotiki and Metropolitan Pavlos Tsaousoglou of Glyfada and Aexoni, of the Local Church of Greece, visited Igumen Ephrem in prison. The arrest of Igumen Ephrem provoked a series of protests in Greece and abroad. In particular, the RF MID and the MP expressed their concern over the detention of Fr Ephrem, and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all the Russias urged Greek President Karolos Papoulias to release him from imprisonment.

3 January 2012

Metropolitan Nikolaos Hatzinikolaou of Mesogeia and Lavreotiki



Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Canonical Robbery of Patriarch Bartholomew


This week’s events have quite clearly pigeon-holed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and his policies. In fact, the EP Holy Synod refused to intercede for the persecuted Archimandrite Ephrem. True, the Synod expressed regret about Fr Ephrem’s imprisonment, but they refused to ask the Greek authorities to release him, saying they didn’t have the authority to interfere in the activities of the secular authorities, they didn’t have full information on the affair, and weren’t familiar with the court documents. Thus, Patriarch Bartholomew not only repudiated ancient church property rights (in fact, that’s what the dispute centres around), but he also refused to aid his brother in distress.

Apparently, we do indeed live in the last days. If the early Christians did everything that they could to ransom their brethren, to aid them when they were imprisoned, and the bishops did all that they could in the times of persecution to relieve the suffering of Christians caused by the Roman judicial authorities, now, Patriarch Bartholomew, like the well-known figure in the Gospels, washes his hands. Moreover, he castigates the MP, saying that Athos is solely his concern, and that the MP has no warrant to interfere into the affairs of his canonical territory. Let me ask you, did the Patriarch of Constantinople imprison Archimandrite Ephrem? Or, are Church courts investigating his affairs? Since when was the court system of the Hellenic Republic canonically responsible to Patriarch Bartholomew? What about the ancient right of intercession, which goes back to the times of the Muscovite Tsars and Patriarchs, and then passed to the Russian Tsars and the Holy Governing Synod (who intervened for the persecuted Greeks before the Turkish authorities), so why is there talk of interference on the canonical territory of the EP? Such an attitude leaves no doubt to the supposition that the affair surrounding Fr Ephrem’s not only anti-Russian in character (properly speaking, the real estate questions are an excuse not a reason), but that the Patriarch of Constantinople takes a public hand in this dirty game.

This week, Patriarch Bartholomew made yet another objectively anti-Russian step. He met with representatives of the schismatic “Abkhazian Church” and held talks with them about the future of the Abkhaz diocese. He clearly hinted that the EP was ready to take jurisdiction over the rebel Abkhaz diocese, and thus challenged not only the MP, but also the Georgian Patriarchate, who holds legitimate jurisdiction in Abkhazia (although due to political circumstances, he’s incapable of exercising his jurisdiction). The MP displayed canonical scruples and did not send any representatives to Abkhazia, especially not bishops. If, indeed, Abkhazia comes under the omofor of the EP, it’ll be an open canonical robbery. Such a policy is quite typical of the EP, as one sees in its canonical interference in Estonia, its rather dubious manoeuvring vis-à-vis the Ukraine, and its unwillingness to recognise the presence of the MP in Western Europe and other lands. All this looks rather petty and short-sighted at a time when Orthodoxy needs to marshal its forces to oppose globalisation, to fight the de-Christianisation of the world. It looks as thought the EP’s provoking a schism in the Orthodox world. Prospects for a so-called Great all-Orthodox Council in this regard are becoming increasingly dimmer.

12 January 2012

Deacon Vladimir Vasilik

Русская народная линия (Russian People’s Line)


Editor’s Note:

The most glaring insult of this situation is that Igumen Ephrem sits in a cell whilst his political counterparts sit free, sipping piña coladas, chasing scantily-clad bimbos, catching every venereal disease known to man. Its “illegal” to “persecute” the pols… the statute of limitations has expired (conveniently) for them… how dare you even suggest such a thing (they DO sound like the OCA/ROCOR First Families, don’t they?). That is, it’s EVIL to impute wrongdoing to the pols, yet, they throw a monk and well-known elder in the slam. He’s not convicted, mind you; he might “commit other offences”. There’s something deeply and obviously WRONG in that. They’re smokin’ some potent wacky weed out there, and I want my share of it!

The Americans leaned on their puppet Bart… and Bart did their bidding, even though it hurt him immensely. Firstly, Bart’s going to get no aid from anyone to reopen Halki. You see, if Bart interferes on the canonical territory of the MP (in Estonia) and Georgia (in Abkhazia), that means that no one’s immune from interference from Langley through its EP proxy. Bart chose to piss on the Mountain and on the Russians… for what? Money from the Americans and the Vatican? Actually, if Bart turned down the Americans, they’d turn off their money spigot, and that would crimp Bart’s style immensely. He’d not go under completely, but he’d suffer a catastrophic drop in funds, which he’d try to recoup from his Greek-American sugar-daddies, in the midst of a full-blown recession. GOOD LUCK…

Indeed, this runs counter to all of the EP’s true interests. However, it shows how deeply the Phanar’s in Langley’s pocket. The chain is VERY short and they’re not averse to pulling it tighter… in public, no less. To be frank, such a dénouement had to happen sooner or later. Look at the bright side of it all… Bart’s revealed for the American lickspittle that he is. Even the Blunder can’t defend him publicly.

As of 12 January 2012, there’s not a peep on either oca.org or the ROCOR official website in support of His Holiness’ principled stand on the Igumen Ephrem affair. They can post about a yolka… but not about an unjustly imprisoned holy elder (it tells you volumes about John Behr, Andrei Psaryov, Alexander Webster, and Vassa Larina, doesn’t it?). Let’s see… the OCA’s “autocephaly” came from the Centre and the ROCOR is an integral part of the Centre… ergo, both bodies had an obligation to have echoed His Holiness’ stance. Note well that they didn’t… and I believe it’s due to such extremist rightwingers as Potapov and Paffhausen. After all, they hang out with Mormons and Moonies… and like DOES call unto to like.

You can’t do much… but you can notice who’s naughty and who’s nice. Don’t send money to the plug uglies… it’s the only thing that they understand. Pass the jug… it’s a goofball world, and it hasn’t gotten any more straight in the last 24…


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