Why Athos monks supported Hitler

History 27/02/20 Why Athos monks supported Hitler

Sometimes you can find that expression in the stories of little-known events of the Second world war. Without going into the evaluation, suggest for consideration only the facts of the relationship between the monks of mount Athos and the Nazi leadership.

Request to Hitler on the protection of Athos

In April 1941, German and Bulgarian troops invaded Greece and occupied this country. Mount Athos due to its geographical position remain aloof from the hostilities. But after it appeared the occupying forces.

Originally it was the Bulgarians. The Bulgarian government had intended to join mount Athos, Bulgaria, drive out all the Greek monks and to settle in their place of Bulgarian monks. The Bulgarians have already done this in two Greek and one Serbian monastery in Macedonia. The inhabitants of the Bulgarian monastery of Zograf on mount Athos even gave Bulgarian officers of the library of the monastery. In 1980-e years the Greek government led by the Bulgarian government on the negotiations about the restitution of those cultural values. Information about their results are inconsistent.

In conditions when the majority of the monasteries of mount Athos threatened Bulgarian occupation and devastation, Holy Kinot – the government Council of the monastic Republic consisting of representatives of the 20 monasteries – we decided to apply for protection directly to Adolf Hitler.

the Message was composed by elder Gabriel of the Dionysian monastery and translated into German by the monk Gerasimos (Minahasa) from the same monastery. It was argued, in particular, that the Holy Mountain with the ninth century is a separate independent state whose sovereignty was repeatedly confirmed by international treaties, including the Berlin Treaty of 1878.

“the purpose and Goal striving in the Holy Mountain of the monks – mentioned in the message, regardless of their place of origin and nnazionalnosti,… is the preservation, prosperity and ensuring its sacred monasteries,… the ascetic life and constant prayer for peace around the world”.

“the Preservation of this building Autonomous monastic state” Holy Kinot had asked Hitler to “take under his high protection and care”. The message was approved at the session of the Holy Kinot 26 APR 1941. Along with the letter was sent the image of Hitler, carved on a tree by the monk Arsenios of the monastery of St. Anne, with the inscription in Greek: “Adolf, the great king.”

Monastic Republic under the protectorate of the third Reich

Mount Athos has been included directly in the zone of occupation of German troops. Governor in Ouranoupoli the city at the foot of mount Athos – was appointed scientist-byzantinist Delhi. Bulgarian troops were removed from the Holy mount, and there is a small German garrisons in the great Lavra and in Varia. At the same time German soldiers were forbidden to enter the temples with weapons.

in addition, Germans became interested in the cultural treasures of mount Athos. The Holy Mountain claims to exclusive possession of the mysteries of Hesychasm – a meditative practice that has developed in the XIV century. In August 1941, from Germany to Athos came the great scientific expedition. In her composed and pseudoscientists-the occultists of the “Ahnenerbe” and serious researchers, historians, archaeologists, byzantinists, theologians, and linguists. Guide in their scientific trips and surveys became, on behalf of the Holy Kinot, Russian monk of the St. Panteleimon monastery father Sophronius Sakharov, the best on mount Athos, which owned the German language. According to the results of the expedition in 1943 in Munich came thick collective monograph “Monastic state of mount Athos”.

Prayers for the victory of Germany

In June 1942, the Holy Mountain was visited by correspondents of the German news Agency DNB. Holy Kinot spread through his statement in which he expressed gratitude to Germany for its policy in respect of Athos. Holy Kinot also expressed support for the efforts of Tratego Reich in the war with the Soviet Union. In the statement, in particular, stated:

“With great emotion we watched the courageous struggle of the German army and its allies for the liberation of Russia from godless Bolshevism. Everywhere I go, German troops, restored the religious life again and the Church bells ring… a Holy community Holy mount Athos confidently expect the victory of the defender of Christianity – the German Reich and its allies. She prays God bless the victorious arms of the leader of the Reich, and sends believers in the Eastern regions [that is in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union – J. B.] my heartfelt congratulations and sincere wishes of good.”

it Should be noted, however, that the statement by the Athonite monks was not something out of the ordinary in the voice of Orthodox churches in Europe. They were occupied by Germany and its satellites of the territory and expressed support for the Third Reich. Bulgarian and Romanian Orthodox churches were in solidarity with their governments, who were allied with Germany. Not lagged behind them and the hierarchs of the Greek Church.

So, the Metropolitan urged the Thessalonians to pray “for all those who are in arms fighting on the Eastern front against godless Bolshevism, and this gives us an opportunity to freely confess the Orthodox faith”. Metropolitan of Florina Basil had expressed “deep gratitude to all civilized humanity to the leader of the German Reich”. Metropolitan Irenaeus of Chalcis was called for God’s blessing on the German weapons. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, being on neutral territory, do not make such calls. But in the Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in Berlin from 1941 to 1945, every evening, prayers were served for the “deliverance of Russia from the godless power.”

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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