Four of the occupant monks of the main building of Esphigmenou monastery were transported and are being treated in a hospital in Thessaloniki with symptoms of COVID-19, as reported by ANA-MPA.
The four monks had symptoms of the disease, were first examined by a doctor at the Health Center of Mount Athos in Karyes, and then were transported to the hospital in Thessaloniki where they tested positive for COVID-19.
Esphigmenou monastery is occupied by 110 monks and has cut off communication both with the Holy Community of Mount Athos and with the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Esphigmenou monastery denies confirmed COVID-19 cases
On its part, Esphigmenou Monastery in a statement denied the reports about alleged COVID-19 cases and supposedly unvaccinated monks who got ill in the monastery.
As it is noted, “Esphigmenou Monastery denies all the reports and informs that all the monks are vaccinated and no one fell ill with COVID-19. In fact, its Abbot, Archimandrite Bartholomew, is the first to be vaccinated on Mount Athos and since the onset of the pandemic he recommends obedience to the medical reality of the human body.
The publications in the press do not refer to monks of our Monastery but to people who occupy the main building of our Monastery. These are about 25-30 people who are not monks of Mount Athos nor do they even belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church. These people are spiritually related to the religious legal entity “Church of Genuine Orthodox Christians of Greece” and to far-right parties, organizations and other rings.
These people are not welcome from all the monasteries of Mount Athos (Holy Community), they themselves declare that they do not belong to our Church, but to another (they even prove it with proselytism, rebaptisms and denial of our saints), they throw Molotov cocktails, they bring weapons, they go in and out free for shopping (as reported by today’s publications), while at the same time they falsely spread that they are excluded.
Nevertheless, the Greek State tolerates them and essentially supports them with its typical inaction to protect Mount Athos from secret invaders. The main building has practically become inaccessible to the authorities and a place of illegal and shady activities.
The occupants have been launching anti-vaccination propaganda in the demonstrations and on the internet for many months, illegally using the name of our Monastery, resulting in the illness of some who believed in them.
Our Monastery received complaints from citizens about the occupants’ acts. The competent authorities ignore us, despite our constant appeals.
The occupants use pseudo-scientific arguments in their propaganda with the ambition of gaining followers.
With their illness, however, the time has come for the practical proof of their lies and the collapse of their ideologies.
Even if someone living in the occupied building loses his life to COVID-19, they can very easily refute it to protect the narrative of the occupation leadership, as no one can know who enters and leaves it.
The Greek State, as it is responsible for the protection of Mount Athos, is obliged to stop tolerating the occupation of its territories by non-church people, and the illegal use of the name of a Mount Athos monastery to spread theories that are destructive to public health.
Reports about unvaccinated cases of COVID-19 in the staff of Esphigmenou monastery create impressions that discredit the Monastery, Mount Athos and the Eastern Orthodox Church, in general. Our Monastery reserves the right to exercise all its legal rights.”