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Date: 10 months ago   Category: Politics

Why the Russian priests aren't let to Athos?


The consular department of Embassy of Greece has refused the Schengen visa to the Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga Varsonofy planning to make a pilgrim trip to Mount Athos. "Lord Varsonofy makes already many years in the fall a pilgrimage to Athos, however this time have refused to him receipt of a visa" — have reported to RIA Novosti news agency in the administration of Patriarchy. Earlier in a number of the Russian media there was information that the Greek consulate refuses issue of visas to the Russian priests or provides not three-year-old as to ordinary tourists, and monthly visas. So, the archpriest Vladimir Vigilyansky has reported that at the end of May his wife was given the visa for three years, and to him — all for a month though he asked three-year. Vigilyansky, according to him, was in Greece already not less than 15 times before, and has accused the authorities of the country of "the worst violation" of the European convention on protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and also of discrimination. The archpriest has said that many Russian priests complained that in the last half a year they came up against similar situations — the visa was given at most for a month. The archpriest Vasily Biksey has told RIA Novosti that he planned to spend a vacation with family in Greece this summer, visas have given to all members of his family, but have refused to him. In August the MFA of Russia has sent to Embassy of Greece a note with a request to make explanations concerning difficulties with issue of visas to priests of Russian Orthodox Church. However the answer hasn't acted yet. The monastic republic However, in such relation to trips of the Russian priests to Athos isn't present anything especially surprising. Greeks, actually, are suspicious for a long time of Russians on Mount Athos – only orthodox monastic "republic" in the world on the peninsula Chalkidiki. And it in spite of the fact that the Russian monastery of Saint Panteleimon has been founded there by the Russian monks more than one thousand years ago, and Russia patronized Athos in the years of the Turkish dominion over Greece. The imperial government annually gave to the Athos monasteries 100 thousand rubles gold that has allowed them will remain in times, difficult for Hellas. But after the revolution of 1917 situation has sharply changed. Kerensky's government has stopped subsidies, and in Greece began to be afraid of "communistic influence". New Russian monks to Athos simply ceased to be let. As a result of at the right time crash of the USSR in the ancient Russian monastery on Athos there were only 27 monks, generally very old men though in their 1910 there were on the Sacred mountain several thousands. The Russian monastery and monasteries have come to desolation, buildings collapsed. The author of these lines was the first Soviet journalist – the correspondent of TASS who has visited Athos in 1988, and then in the Soviet press his first in the atheistic USSR article about Athos and the unique Russian monastery has appeared. After this author of article have summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece where have said that there is no Russian monastery on Athos: all monasteries – Greek, as all m

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