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Greek monks hurl petrol bombs at bailiffs

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57595913/facing-eviction-rogue-greek-monks-hurl-petrol-bombs-at-bailiffs/ July 29, 2013, 10:03 AM Facing eviction, rogue
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 29, 2013
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      July 29, 2013, 10:03 AM
      Facing eviction, rogue Greek monks hurl petrol bombs at bailiffs

      THESSALONIKI, Greece A group of monks on Greece's monastic sanctuary of
      Mount Athos who are facing eviction attacked court bailiffs with rocks
      and petrol bombs Monday, according to civilian authorities on the
      peninsula in northern Greece

      No one was injured in the incident early Monday outside the
      administrative offices of Esphigmenou Monastery, and no arrests were
      reported. The bailiffs retreated from the site.

      Cell phone video of part of the incident, taken by the rebel monks and
      seen by the Associated Press, showed the court-appointed bailiffs using
      a small earth-moving machine in an unsuccessful attempt to force their
      way into the grounds of the office at Karyes, the capital of the
      all-male sanctuary from where its 20 monasteries are run.

      About 100 monks in the 1,000-year-old Esphigmenou monastery have been
      involved in a years-old dispute with the spiritual leader of the world's
      Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, over his
      efforts to improve relations with the Vatican.

      The monks have defied court orders to leave the monastery and allow
      church-appointed replacements to take over the site and the Karyes
      offices about 15 miles to the south.

      "According to the information we have received from the police,
      explosive materials were thrown at the bailiffs," Aristos Kasmiroglou,
      civilian governor of Mount Athos, told the AP.

      "The law must apply to everyone. And all sides must safeguard the pious
      nature of the site."

      The Esphigmenou monks — who argue that they are safeguarding
      centuries-old Orthodox traditions — have refused to leave the complex,
      and receive food and other assistance from supporters in other parts of

      "They came in the morning and started banging on the doors," Esphigmenou
      monk Elder Savvas, who said he witnessed the incident, told the AP.

      "We had warned them that if they provoked us, we would respond."

      Mount Athos was set aside by ancient emperors to be the spiritual
      capitol of Orthodox Christianity and has probably changed less over the
      centuries than any other inhabited place on the planet. The monks come
      here from all over and do everything they can to keep what they call
      "the world" far away.

      Not surprisingly, journalists are not exactly welcome. For more than two
      years, "60 Minutes" producers corresponded, negotiated and, frankly,
      pleaded for an invitation but ran into one monastic wall after another.
      Then, much to the producers' surprise, and delight, the monks finally
      said, "Okay, come see who we are," in early 2011.

      Father Iakovos is one of a few Americans on the mountain.

      He's been here more than half his life, and he told "60 Minutes" he has
      a simple reason why the place is so alluring: "You have to understand,
      the words that we're saying in today's liturgy, are the same words that
      Christ was saying, are the same words that saints from the first
      century, the second century, the third century, the fourth century."

      Nothing has changed in orthodoxy since then - it's the only branch of
      Christianity that can make that claim.
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