"Ephraim is a person with tendency for criminal action"

The appeals judges that considered the abbot of the Vatopedi monastery as fit for indictment, have accused him of sophisticated planning and execution of crimes. 
The decree (No. 3682/2011), which accepts the position of the investigating judge for the case of custody, reads that abbot Ephraim "is a person with a propensity to criminal activity, as part of his personality, acting in a subtle and orderly manner". 
They also think that the risk of him committing new crimes is real: "... given that the accused, who was the mastermind and instigator of these acts, maintains his status as abbot of the Monastery of Vatopedi, there are chances he could exploit his position again." 
They note that the assumption of ownership of lakeside land is pending as are the actions of the Greek government to recover the ownership of real estate exchanged with Vistonida Lake. 
As stated in the decree "... if the accused is released he is likely to commit further crimes, as long as the argument with the government over disputed land persists." 
Appeals judges say that Ephraim has committed his acts repeatedly from the end of December 2001 until 2008 and managed to convince lawyers and assessors of the Legal Council of State to issue favorable decisions for the title of the monastery on the lake and lakeside areas, vice ministers to issue decrees approving opinions and not to raise public ownership rights over such land, ministers to adopt decisions on the exchange of the lake and surrounding property and to delegate the said process to KED with shared properties offered for construction or tourism exploitation. 
It is also mentioned that the abbot had "already engaged in identifying such property" and that the officials of KED and of the rural development ministry as well as the notary who drew up the relevant contracts, were "persuaded" to serve the monastery even with properties of forest and archaeological interest. As noted in the decree, it appears that the notary was persuaded to falsely show that the lake and surrounding land belonged to the monastery and that the exchangeable land is under agrarian and not forestry legislation. 
The claim by Ephraim that can he not be held in custody since ministers are not referred as participants or perpetrators, was not upheld by the judges who adopted the common belief of the investigating judge and the prosecutor that the abbot faces serious indications of guilt. Regard this issue, the decree says there was no disagreement between the Ms Kalou and the prosecutor Panayiotis Matzounis. 
The public prosecutor, however, that requested the imposition of restrictive conditions for the abbot, did not find any "own personal interests" of the accused nor "criminal propensity" since, as he stresses, "about three and a half years have passed after he allegedly completed his operations without the occurrence of further criminal activity." He also considered that Ephraim’s aim was the recovery and radiance of the monastery. 
Standing in front of the investigating judge Ephraim said: "We did not want these trades, but they were imposed on us by the then government to satisfy the local bodies that did not want us there…». When asked why they did not deny the exchanges since they did not want them, he replied: "We were convinced by our legal advisers that we had no other way, otherwise we would have long disputes which we did not want." 
"We always had noble motives. We want to testify the truth of Orthodoxy throughout the universe in an empirical way and all fathers around and I, humbly sacrifice ourselves for the people of God. We have no selfish motives and we try to comfort people who approach us with our humble our forces." 
Lastly, regarding his visits to Maximos Mansion, he argued that their purpose was to service calls and the discussions with Ioannis Aggelou, director of the then prime minister, and one of the accused in the case, raised issues associated with the Aghio Oros tradition and not of the monastery. Except once, when he complained about the government's refusal to give the management of the lake but he did not show any interest.
Ephraim was transferred to Korydallos prison in the morning and will remain in cell 2 of the sixth ward. He asked to be alone in the cell in order to exercise his religion and prayers, a request accepted by the prison management.

Εγγραφείτε στο newsletter μας

Ενημερωθείτε πρώτοι για τα τελευταία νέα, αποκλειστικά ρεπορταζ και ειδήσεις απο όλο τον κόσμο