As expected and with mathematical precision, the shit has hit the fan. Further escalating the political upheaval of the current political state of Greece and Cyprus, a holy man has been found guilty of fraud and theft. The Abbot of Vatopedi monastery, in the mount Athos, Ephraim, has been exchanging property held by the Church state (and the monastery) with the state of Greece. Finally, the justice system saw beyond the title, and arrested the civilian and was brought in custody to face charges of money laundering.
The scandal here though is not the complicity of a man of God and three former ministers (conservative: Ελλάς, Πατρίς, Θρησκεία) in this financial fiasco. The real tragedy as seen through the eyes of the clergy, the believers and supporters of the church is that the Greek government began its ‘cleansing’ with one of the most highly revered and esteemed elders of the Orthodoxy Church, while leaving unpunished everyone else responsible for the country’s financial and social decorum.
Although, Ephraim’s supporters are right in demanding the prosecution and trial of all the scums that led their people to a gloomy cul-de-sac, why is this arrest not seen as a victory of justice? Tens of websites and groups are created daily in support of Ephraim; signatures are gathered condemning the decision of the judges. Spiritual leaders speak against this decision, blinded by their ‘faith’ and the unrighteousness of this ‘sacred’ arrest. Here is the reaction of Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Orthodox Church to the news of the abbot’s arrest a day before Christmas:
“I am not familiar with the substance of this case, and I respect the Greek justice [system]. But like every other Christian, I am particularly troubled by the timing of this custody order … at Christmas,” (Mega television, Athens News/gw)
How can masses of people’s judgment be so readily blurred, because of the traditional social hierarchy which places the clergy at the top of the ladder? Should this arrest be deemed as the Apocalypse, or should it be seen as the beginning of a rotten end? If this man and his accomplices do not revere their roles as chosen spiritual mentors and most importantly their obligations in the society in which they operate, why should we?
At twenty-three, I observe this case and I see this as a satire on our society and morals. A game of Greek-opoly, played by the most influential actors of the greek society, strings pulled under the table, money exchanged with the blessings of god – as always. How long would they go on, without having their secrets unveiled? Long, black robes, rosy cheeks, eyes that overflow with gluttony instead of wisdom, “believers” are speechless in their presence – And I wonder, why are we always so eager to be convinced otherwise, instead of facing the truth?
Video footage from a television ad campaign for The Guardian, 1986. [ not relevant, just a visual allegory]