(two relevant articles)
Press Release by the Metropolitan Konitis Andrew: ‘The court decision against Efrem turns against the Church’.”
The Holy Metropolis Dryinoupoleos, Pogonianis & Konitsis
No. Prot. 108
Delbinakia 24 December 2011
His Eminence the Metropolitan Dryinoupoleos, Pogonianis & Konitsis, Mr Andrew, made the following statement:
‘I have been dumbfounded when I learnt that hieronmonk Efrem, Abbot of the Great Holy Monastery of Vatopaidi was to be remanded in custody for the well known, sensationalist case.
I am not aware of the reasons behind the decision. But I do know that in view of the Christmas period, the decision to remand in custody the Abbot as a common criminal is an act which turns against the Church and naturally against the Holy Mountain; this is something which will give great pleasure to the enemies of these two institutions.
How plausible is it to suggest that justice must be done in the case of a monk when major criminals, drug barons, thieves, thugs and embezzlers of the state’s coffers are still at large, continuing without hindrance their destructive mission? Even if the said monk did have some dealings with the state, this was done –as everyone knows- in order to safeguard earnings to maintain the large Vatopaidi monastery with the numerous brotherhood ( over 120 monks), the worshipers, who in their dozens flood the monastery and receive not only spiritual guidance but food and hospitality on a daily basis.
Let the state be very careful not to provoke the religious sentiment of the people. People have enough shortages and hardship caused by crazy and incompetent politicians. Times are difficult and perilous. Above all the nation needs to be united as one man; this will not happen with such decisions. Let us stand well’.
The Metropolitan Siatistis took a strong stance against the decision on Efrem.
By the Metropolitan Siatistis
Never in my life did I imagine that on such a feast day I would have to write this passage. However, may those who managed such a thing, fare well.
I am referring to the decision to remand into custody the Abbot of the Vatopaidi Monastery Elder Efrem, on this feast day on Christmas Eve. This decision exposes our legal and political system.
As soon as this issue broke out, I became very sceptical and was waiting to see how it would turn out. However, I was very conscious of the fact that both political parties were absolutely aware of this issue. It came to the public light in the way it did, through the conflict between Rousopoulos and Kontominas. The issue progressed in the well known way which resulted in the dismissal of all charges against every politician.
Recently a TV channel began airing properly documented statements by all parties involved, and especially by litigators, presenting the issue in its true colours; this was a completely different story from the one initially presented by all mass media, who were serving political interests.
The outcome of this new evidence is that the real scandal is the false impressions which were intentionally, consciously and studiously cultivated.
Let me refer to what is happening today. Elder Efrem is more or less the only one left to bring to justice, with the result that he is remanded in custody.
Learned litigators have stated the conditions necessary if an order for custody is to be given: Namely, one is to be remanded in custody if his permanent address in the country is unknown, if he has prepared his getaway, if he had escaped in the past from a sentence or from prison, if he was found guilty for aiding and abetting someone else’s escape, or has violated any restrictions imposed for his residency status, or if it is evidently deemed probable for him to commit further crimes if he is let free; the latter must be proved by previous well established facts or by the particulars of the crime he is accused of .( See Chr. Kosmides statement at ‘Romfea.gr’ ( 23. 12.2011)
The question which must be raised in front of the judges is crucial and clear: Which of the above conditions are true in this case? None whatsoever. The decision by the judicial council is an insult to common judgment and reasoning.
Therefore it is obvious that politics were at work when this decision was taken.
Whose interests were the judges serving? Every citizen of this country deserves a clear answer if he is to preserve his personality and not be just a number.
His Beatitude has expressed his reservations. His reservations constitute Common judgment. However, I do not have faith in the Greek justice system. Everyone from now on must prove that he is worth our trust on a daily basis. No one is full proof. This decision destroys the name of Justice, making it servile to political intrigue.
Whom did the Greek judges remand into custody for the stock- market scandal? Whom did they remand into custody for the bribes given by Siemens and others?
Whom did they remand into custody for the country’s economic ruin and the slurs thrown against the Greek people?
Whom did they remand into custody for the predatory runs into the pockets of the poor? Whom did they remand into custody for the swelling numbers of suicides because of despair and unemployment?
Wow! Greek justice has finally found the mastermind behind all those calamities! It is Abbot Efrem. Greek judges can finally sleep soundly and guilt free. Or, should they stand up and mend the tatters in the name of Justice?
If those who have remanded a priest into custody think that they can wash off the country’s international disgrace, have made a grave mistake.
People recognize all too well, the ones who have turned them into shatters and the ones who are standing by in their hour of their need. This decision will become a boomerang.
This decision does not harm Abbot Efrem as a person; but it discredits our country once again, causing international ridicule.