In EnglishΥπόθεση Μονής Βατοπαιδίου

No word mincing: Even if it was true that public property was awarded to Vatopedi as a gift, it would have been a proper reward!

21 Ιουνίου 2010

No word mincing: Even if it was true that public property was awarded to Vatopedi as a gift, it would have been a proper reward!

by Spyros Mpazinas

VatopediFriend: A very apt reply to the lies spread by those servile to the IMF (and not only to this organization). A must read…

There was no forthright and honest truth ever been told about the Vatopedi case, even by those who regarded it as part of their family and thought they had a duty to defend it. Yes, I dare expose this omission because I regard this as my sacred duty. Very few people have publicly conceded that even if the monks had done what they have been accused of, we would still have a duty to defend them, just as one defends his father or his brother no matter what they have done.  read more…Even fewer of those defenders have publicly granted that even if the monks had acted unlawfully against the state, they have not sinned against God, because they continue to live ascetically and use the monastery’s property for the benefit of the Lord’s flock.  An illegal deed is not necessarily unethical. Stealing some bread for a pauper who is hungry is not morally wrong.  Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac is not unethical. On the contrary, it has a special moral value.
A scandal, i.e. an illegal deed, has not been committed at least on the part of Vatopedi. Vatopedi, as a guardian to peoples’ money, has a right and the duty to protect and increase it… Of course, the way this is done is critical and this can be evaluated by the Athonian family.  Let’s not forget that even Saint Athanasios the Athonite, had been accused of business dealings and for his close ties to the politicians of the time. Even if the courts decide that public property has been awarded to Vatopedi as a gift, which still has to be shown, it was rightly given since Vatopedi is a great benefactor of the Greek people and uses its assets to advance public interest, while the state misappropriates, misuses and wipes out public money and it cannot perform in the way Vatopedi does. .
Truth be told, no damage was done to the public and therefore there was no deception, at least on Vatopedi’s part.  Vatopedi has assisted Greece and not the other way round. Thousands acres of land was gifted to the state to house refugees and the poor. One and a half million acres was gifted by Holy Mount Athos to the Greek state. In other words, if I give a million Euros to the state and the state gives me back 100 Euros to feed the poor, it is neither illegal nor unethical. On the contrary, if the state accuses me of something against the law, I have the right to ask for the gift back because of its ingratitude.
Public interest was not infringed by the land exchanges, because those exchanges will go towards the completion of a huge project, beneficial to the community, which the state cannot or is not willing to take on, while the monks serve the people by living a deprived and ascetic life. That is the reason this project is being financed by the Greek state and the European Union. Vatopedi has also been accused of wrongfully declassifying forests and archaeological sites. One must be totally ignorant or act in bad faith if one doesn’t recognize that Holy Mount Athos protects forests and preserves archaeological sites and utilizes them, something which cannot be said of the Greek state.
However, there is a possible scandal on the part of the Greek state and other people. It was the Greek state which appropriated 35.000 acres of Vatopedi land in Halkidiki and in exchange handed over the Vistonida Lake. Then, it failed to protect Vatopedi’s property rights on the lake, giving it no choice but to have recourse to the courts. When the various state mechanisms recognized those rights, the state offered a series of exchanges while subsequently acting in its usual procrastinating manner.   As soon as the media got whiff of the story and brought it to light in their usual careless and exaggerated manner, no state official or anyone else had the guts to take responsibility. They threw the blame on Vatopedi instead. Not even people of the Church had at least the guts to say what some people from SYRIZA said when the kid of a party member was arrested for armed robbery: “Please show pity for this boy’s family”!
There is also a scandal committed by the media who directed the attempt to defame the Church as a whole, for their own political and financial means. This is the same Church which is the only consolation the Greek people have left at the present hour of persecution by the representatives of the New Order both in Greece and elsewhere. A campaign was launched so that property belonging to the Church is misappropriated in order to make monasteries and Patriarchates disappear, not being able to offer hospitality and consolation to the needy.
There is also a scandal committed by the investigating committee of the House of Representatives because it described the rights of defense which two monks had as ‘contempt of the House’. That is, the committee wanted to trap the two monks, whom it suspected of unlawful deeds, by not allowing them to exercise their right of defense and the presence of their lawyers. It also demanded that they reply to questions and refer to facts which might incriminate them in a clear violation of the basic principles of a criminal trial.  Politicians and others, whose lives are, to say the least, reproachful, and who have done nothing or the absolute minimum for the country, had the audacity to actually make accusations against monks of the Holy Mount Athos! This is the greatest scandal.
The whole story was based on the wrong assumption that public interest was infringed by the grant of public property to Vatopedi. It also intended to hurt the government. (Note: It means the former government- not because it was good, but because the plan of the New Order had to be promoted) and the Church. By hurting the image of the Church, it wanted to encourage the interests of those supporting the New Order in Greece and elsewhere.
Greek people must wake up and take upon themselves the task of preserving that which they hold dear and Holy.  The target now is not just the monks, Vatopedi, or the Holy Mount Athos. The target is the Church and Greece because they stand up against the New Order and its attempt to hand over political and economic power to the hands of the few. These want to force the Greeks to kneel in front of some locals and foreigners alike.

Translated from Greek by: Olga Kokkinos, journalist

republication from the site of the Association of Friends of Vatopedi Monastery