Justice should intervene on Mount Athos and a prosecutor should investigate the monks who refuse to get vaccinated and influence people from all over the country not to receive the vaccines, asked the Abbot of the Monastery of Esfigmenos, Archimandrite Bartholomew, speaking on the First Programme.
“Why are we monks above the law? Can we move uncontrollably and do whatever we want?”, he wondered, saying that “when death spreads around us, not only on Mount Athos but all over the world, one cannot ignore what is happening”. According to official data, in the last 10 days, two monks have lost their lives on Mount Athos and another five are being treated in hospitals in Thessaloniki, while only 40% of the monks of the monastic state have been vaccinated.
“Let justice come in, let the Prosecutor investigate”
“It is not a political issue whether some people try to politicize it, it is purely medical, which affects all people; it does not concern only a portion of the population. All people are dying from the pandemic,” he said characteristically.
“A purely medical issue has turned into a spiritual one”
Abbot Bartholomew underlined that a purely medical issue has now been transformed into a spiritual one, while it cannot be considered as such.
He admitted that “unfortunately there are – not many, but – several fanatics” in the church and on Mount Athos, who “close their eyes, ears and nose”, so as not to see or hear anything other than their own point of view, which they want to impose by force”.
“They are leading the world in the direction of fanaticism and intolerance. Characteristics of the fanatic are hatred and revenge. They do not tolerate different opinions from theirs, and if a different opinion is heard, they react aggressively. I am accused of being a collaborationist of the Patriarch and the government because I talk about these issues,” he said.