Thursday, December 21, 2006

Violence in Orthodox Monastery

Dec. 20, 2006 ( - Violence broke out at an Orthodox monastery in Greece on December 20, when a group of rebel monks confronted other monks seeking to enter their monastery.

Wire service reports indicate that residents of the ancient monastery at Esphigmenou reacted violently when monks from outside their community tried to enter. At least 7 monks required medical treatment after the melee, Greek police reported.

The Esphigmenou community has been engaged in a long-running dispute with the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I. The rebel monks charge that the Orthodox prelate has broken with the traditional teachings of the Church, by pursuing ecumenical ties with the Holy See.

The patriarch has charged the Esphigmenou monks with heresy and schism, and won a Greek court decision ordering them to vacate the 1,000-year-old monastery. The monks have continued to resist that order.

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