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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Monks lift curse on Aegean villagers
Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos
Mount Athos is home to 20 monasteries
Greek monks have agreed to lift a 100-year-old curse on a village whose people triggered a massacre by soldiers of the Ottoman empire.

The curse condemns the people of Moudros, on the island of Limnos, to "never sleep again", because their actions led to the death of almost all monks on the island.


This will be a relief for many people here, who did not want the curse still hanging over their heads

Moudros mayor, Kostas Adamidis
The curse has been chanted by the monks of the Mount Athos community on 23 August every year - but this year a delegation from the Koutloumousi monastery will travel to Moudros to formally lift it.

"This will be a relief for many people here, who did not want the curse still hanging over their heads," said the mayor of the village, Kostas Adamidis.

Slaughter

Map of the Aegean
"Villagers had killed some Turks and threw them down a well on the property belonging to the Mount Athos monastery," he said.

"The Turks, believing it was the monks who did it, took revenge by slaughtering them and torching all buildings."

Two monks managed to escape and return to the Koutloumousi monastery, where they imposed the curse.

While most of Greece rose up against the Ottomans in the 1820s, Limnos remained a part of the empire for about another century.

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