Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou
Your Excellency, Mr. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras
Today, the bailiff announced to us (judgment under № 1228/2014), that within three days we had to leave the Residence located on the street Venizelos in Thessalonika and transfer it to the monks of the “new brotherhood.”
Once again justice is for the powerful and delivers assets, which were laboriously acquired by our fraternity, to those who were baptized at Katsoulieri overnight the “Neo-Esphigmenites” (ordered by the Ecumenical Patriarch).
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The Ecumenical Patriarch answered the messages: The “Neo-Esphigmenites” represent the replacement brotherhood assembled by the Phanar who are charged with taking control of the monastery, and are more amenable to the Phanar’s ecumenical agenda. As we know, for some time, the majority of the monastics and monasteries on Mt. Athos refused to commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarchate, however, in the last 40 years, the so called ‘New Holy Mountain Fathers’, led by people such as the Fr. Pasios (Enzepidis) (who claimed Pat.
Bartholomew was one of the ‘greatest patriarchs’ in history, and thus, was gladly rewarded by having his cult of veneration promoted constantly, thus, he is claimed as an Elder and will soon by Canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate), and others, turned the trend toward absolute conformity to the Phanar’s wishes. However, the only large monastic institution that remained consistently faithful to Orthodoxy was Holy Ascension Monastery (commonly known as “Esphigemnou”). For this, they have been increasingly subject, over the past several years, to increasing violent measures by orders of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Archontonis).
The monastery with its over 100 monks has been subject to attacks, violence, and preventing of even medical supplies to enter the premises (the vast majority of the Athonite monasteries which are loyal to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and his ecumenist agenda support these actions, though, some have still felt some obligation to help Esphigmenou in small measures). Several monks have been killed by the police force of the Ecumenical Patriarch, especially older monks who have died for lack of medicine (since to leave their beloved monastery would mean they might never see it again).
We all remember how in the early 1990s, the ROCOR’s revival of Prophet Elias Skete on Mt. Athos was violently uprooted by command of the Ecumenical Patriarch and his specialized police force. Esphigmenou, on the other hand, perhaps because it has a predominantly Greek population (and thus can appeal directly to the governing powers in Athens), and, perhaps most importantly, because the building itself was built by the Byzantine emperor for the purpose of withstanding sieges and attacks by Muslim pirates, has managed to hang on. There are, of course, small True Orthodox sketes and hermitages on the Holy Mountain, composed of a few individuals.
Esphigmenou, on the other hand, represents to the Phanar, what ROAC’s presence in Suzdal does to the MP; both have managed to make a well-known presence, and control historically Orthodox buildings instead of allowing themselves to be easily evicted; in the case of Holy Ascension Monastery, the Brotherhood never lost control of the building, nor did it give in to the increasing modernistic and ecumenist attitude (thus, the most liberal of the Athonite monasteries under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Vatopedi, which adopted the New Calendar, has been subject to scandal after scandal; ranging from gross carnal immorality all the way to fradulent financial dealings).
The Brotherhood, on the other hand, refuses to embrace the anti-Christian teachings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whether directly or indirectly. Pat. Bartholomew’s teaching that it is acceptable for Orthodox Christians to pray with those who are non-Orthodox, to engage in joint services, which all stem from his fundamentally anti-Christian world-view which discounts the authority of the Holy Scriptures and the Apostolic Tradition, has been rebuffed by Esphigmenou.
Esphigmenou monastery has a long and illustrious history of resisting attempts to alter the dogmatic teachings of Orthodox; for example, the Glorified Fathers of the Monastery were burnt to death on the orders of Patriarch John Bekkos in the 1200s because they refused his order to commemorate the Pope in liturgical services (Bekkos had accepted union with the Vatican via the earlier submission of the Emperor and other Greek metropolitans at the Council of Lyons). St. Gregory Palamas was at one time Abbot of Esphigmenou Monastery.