Monks resist paying taxes

2011-03-29 20:05

Athens - Monks from the 1 000-year-old autonomous monastic community of Mount Athos on Tuesday defied the cash-strapped Greek government by refusing to pay property taxes.

The finance ministry, which has been forced to accept an international bailout, recently announced plans to tax the monks on any real estate in their possession outside the boundaries of the autonomous state.

Mount Athos, or the Holy Mount, is divided into 20 self-governed territories on the Athos peninsula in north-eastern Greece.

It serves as the spiritual centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Despite protests by the European Parliament, women, including female journalists, are banned from the rugged 300kmĀ² peninsula, which has been dedicated to the Virgin Mary since 1060.

Under the constitution, Mount Athos is also exempt from paying taxes or tariffs to the Greek government.

The 2 600 monks who live on Mount Athos called an emergency session to complain that the Greek government was ignoring their rights as an autonomous state. They said they had written a protest letter to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

The monks, who reportedly own millions of euros worth of real estate around Greece, have threatened to break off all contact with the government in Athens unless their demands are met.

Doctors credit the monks' peaceful lifestyle and healthy diet, which features no red meat, regular consumption of olive oil, plenty of fresh fruit, homegrown vegetables and daily portions of fish.

  • les wood - 2011-03-30 04:28

    Figures. Religions are all about the money, and the Monks, who could teach the Mafia a thing or two, are going to hold on to their ill-gotten gains. Organized Religion is like Organized Crime; it preys on peoples' weakness, generates huge profits for its operators, and is almost impossible to eradicate. - Mike Hermann

      Juggernaut - 2011-03-30 10:00

      Les Wood you talk rubbish. This is about a single isolated order. It is impossible to eradicate organized religion because it works....... the proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof.

  • KayZee - 2011-03-30 07:45

    News24, check that last paragraph: "Doctors credit the monks' peaceful lifestyle and healthy diet, which features no red meat, regular consumption of olive oil, plenty of fresh fruit, homegrown vegetables and daily portions of fish." Credit it for what? Makes no sense.

      Juggernaut - 2011-03-30 10:01

      Go back to school and pass English

      KayZee - 2011-03-30 12:19

      Oh please Juggernaut, no need to get nasty. Seeing as you do not find the last paragraph as obviously objectionable as I do, I will elaborate: The article is about the monks not wanting to pay taxes. The last sentence then suddenly talks about their lifestyle habits. It says "doctors credit the monks' peaceful lifestyle and healthy diet..." For what? Do they credit the monks' lifestyle habits for enhancing their ability to write a protest letter to the government? I'm sure that's not it, but we have no way of knowing what was meant, because it is an incomplete sentence. (A concept you will be familiar with from English class...)

      ridgeback60 - 2011-03-30 13:25

      I agree. The last paragraph is totally unrelated to the body of the article. I also don't think that this bunch of odds and sods are as peaceful as claimed - they seem pretty agro to me, what with getting cheeky with the government.

  • david.singhiser - 2011-03-31 00:21

    Three cheers for the monks! Fight state tyranny. Withhold support and consent!

  • david.singhiser - 2011-03-31 00:23

    Three cheers for the monks of Mt. Athos. Fight state tyranny - withhold support and consent. "The State is a gang of thieves writ large" ~Murray N. Rothbard

  • patrician125 - 2011-04-03 06:01

    The monks of Mount Athos are correct in refusing to pay taxes to the government of Greece.

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