PM Tsipras ‘Not Welcomed’ in Greece’s Holy Mountain Athos

Alexis Tsipras was forced to cancel plans to visit Mount Athos last week, as a number of influential orthodox clerics vetoed his visit on the grounds that he is an atheist.

Kathimerini reports that the Greek Premier was to travel to the centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism on Wednesday, where he was to meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew; who was visiting northern Greece.

The Holy Community, the supreme governing body of Mount Athos, at a stormy meeting on Monday, decided not to officially accept Tsipras as Prime Minister, but only to receive him as a private pilgrim.

According to Kathimerini, the majority view at the Holy Community was that Mount Athos cannot officially welcome a Prime Minister who has “declared himself an atheist”, and has legislated policies that undermine Orthodoxy.

The PM’s office tried to downplay the incident, saying that the visit was cancelled due to increased workload.