Monday, November 15, 2021

Civil Administrator of Mount Athos Says Monasteries Are Safe for Visitors, But Not Hermitages and Cells

"The image I have of Mount Athos, from the contacts with all the institutions and from the cooperation with the Health Center, is that it is not difficult to handle", reveals the Civil Administrator of Mount Athos, Thanasis Martinos, referring to the situation that prevails with the cases of coronavirus among the Athonite monks.

As Thanasis Martinos pointed out, speaking to ANT1, "at the moment we have 30-40 cases, mainly of isolated monks who live alone, and we also have 5-6 monks who are hospitalized in Thessaloniki, where we know that the situation is very difficult."

Regarding the interventions of the Abbot of the Monastery of Esphigmenou, Mr. Martinos said that his views are correct and he welcomes them and reminded us that "there is a problem with the old Monastery of Esphigmenou. Elder Bartholomew represents the new Monastery of Esphigmenou and refers to the old, which is against vaccinations." While Elder Bartholomew and all of his monks of the new Esphigemou Monastery are vaccinated and healthy, it is estimated 25-30 of the monks of the old Monastery of Esphigmenou, who are occupying the monastery and spreading propaganda through the internet against the vaccine, have been tested positive with the coronavirus.

"Currently, 75% of the monks have been vaccinated or have become ill. In the monasteries there is immunity and it is safe for monks and visitors," said the Mount Athos Civil Administrator, adding that all pilgrims before going to Mount Athos are subject to a rapid test.

"Where there is a problem is in the hermitages and cells of southern Mount Athos, where the monks live alone or in groups of up to 3-5 monks and where there is no medical care, since in monasteries it happens that there is a monk who is also a doctor," said Mr. Martinos, adding, "How do they get infected? Either going for supplies outside Mount Athos or going to visit their family."

He concluded by stating that those who live in cells "live an ascetic life, live alone in nature, fast and it is a bit oxymoronic to get the vaccine, due to their deep faith in God, but we cannot say that they are propagandizing against vaccination."

The latest death count from the coronavirus on Mount Athos since the pandemic began is nine deaths.