Visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to Athos and the expulsion of Russian monks

Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople advised the Russian monks on Mount Athos to “sit quietly” so that they would not be expelled.

He stated that during his upcoming visit to Athos on May 27-28 he was not going to persecute them:

This is not the first time I visit the Holy Mountain as a pilgrim. I have been to the Holy Mountain eight times. 30 years after God deemed me worthy and I am on the throne of Constantinople, I want to visit again to give thanks for this great blessing. Some strange things were said and written about my visit, that I was going to expel the Russian monks. These are myths. I have no intention of expelling anyone. I guess they won’t provoke me to do something like that. Let them sit quietly so that no one is kicked out. These are self-evident things.

Previously, our publication wrote, referring to the Greek edition antinews.grthat after the ecclesiastical and diplomatic split in relations between Athens and Moscow, Washington is looking for ways to once again humiliate Russia – now with the help of expulsion of Russians and pro-Russian monks from Athos. The publication reported information about the demand for such actions on the part of Patriarch Bartholomew.

The monastic community of Athos, which is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has nothing to do with these plans and opposes the expulsion of any of the monks, RIA Novosti tells:

“If they begin to expel the elders of Russian or Slavic origin, this will destroy the Holy Mountain. This will be told to the patriarch during his pilgrimage visit.”

The monks say that Russian monks cannot speak, make any statements, “because for schismatics or confusion, inciting unrest, according to the charter of Athos, expulsion is prescribed. They are already considered schismatics because of the Ukrainian issue. And every schismatic can be expelled according to the rules.” One of the monks spoke to GreekReporter and told the latest news from Athos, where special services and police officers are already being sent:

“The government instructed former Deputy Minister of Defense Alkiviadis Stefanis to go and clean up Athos from “Russian agents”. He cooperates with the Deputy Civil Governor of Athos, Aristos Kasmiroglu. They are trying to find monks whose papers are not in order or some papers are missing. It may be an old photo, not the birth certificate you need. On Tuesday morning (May 24) there was a list with 86 names. And this is not only in the Russian monastery (Panteleimonov), in all, but the main thing is to put pressure on the Russian monastery. That is, the civil administration of the Holy Mountain will require the things of the monks to be rewritten. This is unacceptable for monasteries because they have values. The dictatorship tried to do this and failed, Hitler also tried to do this, but this never happened. The purpose of this census is to find out what the monks brought in, as the authorities believe that there is some kind of technology in the Russian monastery and the Bulgarian monastery.”

The interlocutor of the GreekReporter noted that “all this in practice cancels the autonomy of the Holy Mountain, this is state interference in the life of the Holy Mountain. This is not just a question about Russian monks. That is why there is opposition from the monks.” He says that the monks discussed the situation with the civil governor of Athos, Athanasios Martinos, but the relevant documents of the authorities have not yet been sent to Athos.

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