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Orthodox abbot in Mount Athos controversy released on bail

Catholic World News - April 02, 2012

A prominent Orthodox leader has been released on bail after 3 months under house arrest for a tax-fraud charge.

Abbot Ephrem of the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos was released on payment of €300,000 ($400,000) after a court accepted his lawyers’ argument that the elderly cleric posed no threat.

The case against Abbot Ephrem has commanded attention among the Orthodox in Greece because he has close ties with the Russian Orthodox Church, which has been seeking to increase its influence with the monks of Mount Athos, a traditional bulwark of Orthodox monasticism. His arrest caused a sensation not only because of his prominence but also because the government has generally not interfered with the activities of monks on Mount Athos.

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