THESSALONIKI, Greece – A monk and the abbot of a Mt. Athos monastery deemed schismatic by the Greek Orthodox church have been sentenced in absentia to 20 years in prison by a court in this northern Greek city.
Antypas, one of 118 monks at the 1,000-year-old monastery, was sentenced for throwing firebombs at a court bailiff who was trying to evict the monks from a building in Karyes, capital of the Mt. Athos monastic community, in July 2013.
Abbot Methodios was convicted for incitement. Another six monks, sentenced to 10 years as accessories, were freed on appeal.
The Esphigmenou monks are in a bitter dispute with the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, whom they accuse of treason for seeking better relations with the Catholic Church.