However, this rule has been broken repeatedly in the past. The Environment Ministry went on to point out that the monastery has not applied for a license to build on the land, suggesting that the Church may have been looking for favorable treatment from the government. A spokesman for the Church told Kathimerini on Monday that Archbishop Ieronymos had been encouraged to proceed with the plans for a solar park by previous Prime Minister George Papandreou and current Premier Lucas Papademos. Meanwhile, Ombudsman Calliope Spanou on Monday gave a deposition to financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis in connection to the rents paid by her organization.
Peponis has launched an investigation into the rents paid by state bodies. The Ombudsman’s rent for offices owned by the Vatopedi Monastery, which is located on Mount Athos, is about 100,000 euros a month. Spanou said she has been asking since last year for the rent to be reduced but the government’s Land Service, which is responsible for the negotiations, has failed to deliver yet.