The Metropolitan of Siatista furious at the Efraim decision

7 January 2012

Sunday, 25 December 2001

By the Metropolitan of Siatista

I would never have imagined  that, on such a festive day, I would be required to write this text. May those responsible prosper.

I am referring to the decision to place Elder Efraim, the Abbot of the Monastery of Vatopaidi under preventative detention and, moreover, on the symbolic day of Christmas Eve.

A decision which exposes our legal and political culture.

From the very beginning of this case I have been very guarded, preferring to await clarification of the events. I did know, however, that it had arisen in the full knowledge of the two large political parties.

It came to the surface, and in the manner in which it did, because of the clash between Rousopoulos and Kondominas. The whole course the case has taken is well-known, the outstanding feature being the exoneration, in the old, familiar fashion, of all the politicians involved.

Recently, a television station began to present the true picture of the case, with well-documented positions from all sides. This was an entirely different picture from that which the television channels had so assiduously and with malice aforethought presented.

The conclusion that began to be formed was that the real scandal in this case was the false picture which was being deliberately, consciously and methodically presented.

I come to today. The only one who has to answer charges is Abbot Efraim, who has been placed in preventative detention.

Eminent legal experts have explained the conditions required for the preventative detention of a person: that he or she should have no known place of abode in the country; that he or she should have made preparations to flee the country; that he or she should in the past have been a fugitive from justice or have helped someone escape from custody or broken a restriction order on residence; or that he or she might justifiably be suspected of being likely to commit other crimes if released, though this suggestion must be backed up by specific references to events in the person’s previous life and to particular features of the actions attributed to him or her.

The question for the judges is plain and simple. Which of these conditions apply in the present case? Absolutely NONE. The decision of the legal counsellor is an affront to common sense and common intelligence.

It is therefore clear that this is a decision of expediency.

So what expediency might it be that the deciding judges are serving? Every citizen of this country who aspires to being a person rather than a cipher deserves a clear answer.

His Beatitude [the Archbishop of Athens] has expressed his concern. It is the concern of common sense. But I have NO confidence in the Greek justice system.

Everyone now needs to prove on a daily basis that he or she is worthy of our trust. Nobody is now out of the firing-line. This decision has shattered the prestige of the justice system itself, making it the servant of preferential treatment.

Honestly, who did the Greek judges hold in temporary detention over the stock market bubble? Who did they arrest over the illegal payments made to Siemens and other such transactions?

Who have they arrested over the economic collapse of this country and the international humiliation of its people.

Who have they arrested over the criminal raids on the savings of poor people? Who have they arrested over the increase in suicides because of unemployment and despair?

Finally, the Greek justice system, albeit belatedly, has found the root cause of all these disasters: Abbot Efraim. Greek judges can now sleep the sleep of the just. Or perhaps they would do better to wake up and restore their shattered dignity.

If those people who brought the country into international disrepute think that they will be washed clean by the arrest of a clergyman, they are much mistaken.

The Greek people know full well who were their downfall and who are actually standing at their side in these difficult times. This decision will rebound on those who made it.

It does not reflect badly on Abbot Efraim, but it does, once again, expose our country to universal derision.