Written by Archimandrite Romanos Anastasiadis, Clergyman of the Holy Metropolis of Rethymna and Avlopotamos (Ecumenical Patriarchate).
We have read very carefully in these days a publication revealing that the Holy Community of Mount Athos addressed the Foreign Ministry of Greece on the occasion that a Metropolitan from the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine came accompanied in the sacred place and raised, in a moment of enthusiasm, the flag of their homeland there.
This letter strengthened the patriotic feelings of all Greeks and demonstrated the sensitivity of the Mount Athos in such matters.
But a tour of the internet led me to find many examples of displaying foreign flags, even by Russian nationalists-separatists, on Mount Athos. What I could not understand is: Why only the brothers of Ukraine have bothered the Holy Fathers? Only in this case did they find the risk of altering the physiognomy of Mount Athos?
Do the Holy Fathers not understand that our Ukrainian brothers lived in schism for more than 20 years, freed from its darkness and bonds, and from the Muscovite boot wanting any dependency of their country, and they wanted with a simplistic -if you want in an improper- way to express their joy because they finally found themselves as canonical clerics in Mount Athos? And all right, they returned from a schism, they did not know well, they were wrong! The others who display the flags listed in the articles (see Appendix)? What excuse do they have?
Are not the Athonite Fathers bothered by the double and totally anticanonical commemoration in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon and perhaps elsewhere? Those who are interested in the way of restoration and the validity of the ordination of Philaretos and Makarios, how do they tolerate rape and so blatantly violate ecclesiology in Mount Athos? Do not they see the danger behind these acts?
They do not see the constant invasion of Moscovites in the Greek territory with temples of Russian architecture, even in northern Greece, where they are very zealous about the Greekness of our Macedonia (who do they want to please there)?
Do they not see the efforts of the “Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society” to intervene in Greek affairs?
Do they not see the millions of euros donated to Monasteries inside and outside Athos, as well as Metropolises in Greece, Cyprus and elsewhere?
Do they not see the promotion of Russian Saints, as well as of a pietistic religiousness which is irrelevant to the reverence of our people?
Do they not see that we have become dependent on the money of the Russians, we who led them to the Orthodox Faith and taught them civilization?
Do they not see that the Russians are not the champions and saviors of our faith, as they always wanted to be shown, but they are full of hypocrisy with a Hilarion Alfeyev being every so often in the Vatican, with ... so much and so much?
Do they not realize that they are stirring up all the jealous elements in Greece against the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as part of a supposed violation of the Canons and Orthodoxy, while they swallow a camel in ecclesiastical violations by creating Metropolises where Metropolises of the Ecumenical Patriarchate already exist, as if we were heretics?
Do the venerable Holy Fathers not understand that this Russian war against the Ecumenical Patriarchate is not because they have a supposedly sensitive conscience but because they cannot tolerate and accept the responsibilities and privileges that the Holy and Great Church of Christ has always had in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?
They are making fun of us in cold blood and we justify them as our "Orthodox brothers"! But enough is enough! They want the "Third Rome" as if there is first and second! There is Old Rome and New Rome and nothing else has been or will be. That's where history ended!
After the disclosure of these publications, will the Holy Fathers write a supplementary letter to the Minister so as to protect them from the Russian propaganda?
Woe, Fathers of Mount Athos, if you begin to become the victims of this Russian trap (we do not want to believe that there are financial incentives!)! If you, the first line of our Mother Church, do not stand against such sneaky traps, then for what patriotism do you boast?
Do you not know, ultimately, the basic that monasticism does not have its own ecclesiology? That the monks must be faithful to their Bishop?
With these simple thoughts, I wish you to celebrate the memory of the holy Apostles having their enlightenment and their intercession!