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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-07-28

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM begins Mount Athos tour, expresses support for monasteries

  • [01] PM begins Mount Athos tour, expresses support for monasteries

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday expressed the government's support for the work of the 20-odd all-male monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula, during his first stop on an official tour of the self-governing monastic community known in Greece as the "Holy Mount" or Agion Oros.

    In his reply to a welcome by the governor in the Athos capital of Karyes, Karamanlis said Mount Athos was a "spiritual reference point for Orthodox Christian culture and at the same time a symbol of the elevation of human existence."

    In a later event, a representative of the monastic community presented the premier with a memorandum that stressed the concern of the community's administration for the preservation of "genuine Agion Oros life" and the preservation of the spiritual and material elements that make it up.

    In this, the monks also referred to the issue of a group of zealot monks occupying the Esfigmenou Monastery, in defiance of court rulings ordering them to leave, who continue in their refusal to acknowledge the authority of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of Mount Athos.

    They asked the government to "discourage illegality" for the state to adopt a clear position.

    Karamanlis was also asked to support the community's efforts to induct Mount Athos programmes into the 4th Community Support Framework funds offered by the EU.

    The prime minister pledged that work to restore monuments, preserve relics and protect the natural environment would be ensured within the 4th CSF, while he also promised to give careful consideration to the monks' requests for legal protection of the peninsula's special self-governing status, to secure its border and supervise its security.

    Afterwards, the premier and his party sat to a dinner given in the premier's honour by the Holy Community and departed for the Agia Lavra Monastery.

    On Friday evening, they are due to move on to the Vatopedi Monastery where they will spend the night, and the tour will conclude with a visit to the Iviron Monastery at midday on Saturday.

    Karamanlis arrived in Karyes shortly after midday to a welcome with head of state honours, accompanied by Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos, Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis, Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis and Deputy Finance Minister Christos Folias. Also in the premier's party were senior government officials, MPs and local government officials.


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