BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 17:56 GMT
Greece's rebel monks in mountain stand-off
The head of the monastery, Abbot Methodios
The monks' leader says persecution is a joy

More than 100 Greek Orthodox Christian monks are refusing to leave their monastery in north-eastern Greece despite being ordered out by the authorities after accusing the patriarch, their spiritual leader, of heresy.

The deadline for moving out expired on Tuesday.

The rebel monks are based at the Esphigmenou Monastery on Mount Athos, known as the Holy Mountain.

They say their communications and food supplies have already been cut off, but they have managed to stop the eviction order being enforced by appealing to the supreme court.

The monks say the reason given for evicting them does not have any legal basis.

Patriarch Bartholomew
Patriarch Bartholomew is accused of heresy over links with Catholics
Their spiritual leader, Patriarch Bartholomew, accuses them of creating a schism within the Greek Orthodox church by refusing to recognise his authority.

He says therefore they are a forbidden brotherhood.

It is a dispute which dates back more than 30 years, to a meeting between the patriarch and the Pope.

Over the past decade, there have been further meetings between the Greek Orthodox spiritual leader and the Roman Catholic church.

The rebel monks say the contact has gone too far and is tantamount to heresy.

They say it undermines the very basis of the Orthodox faith which was created almost 1,000 years ago in the "Great Schism" which split Christianity into Eastern and Western branches.

'Orthodoxy or death'

The monks are determined to stay in their monastery and say they have enough supplies to last for several years.

Their motto is Orthodoxy or death.

The head of the monastery, Abbot Methodios, told the BBC it was a joy to be persecuted for what he called the true faith given to them by Jesus Christ.

The authorities in Mount Athos say there will be no violence.

They are now waiting for a final decision on the case by the supreme court.

See also:

04 May 01 | Europe
22 Apr 02 | Entertainment
26 Oct 97 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes