“It is true, alas, it is true, that there are many sluggards, gluttons, profligates, and insolent beggars among monks,” says Father Zosima in “The Brothers Karamazov”.
Well, I can now say from personal experience that Zosima fell far short of reality as anyone who reads my legal actions concerning a monastery in northern Greece with a view of Mount Athos (!) can see.
A local middle aged, married, solidly professional man in Larisa told me he was warned not to visit Mount Athos because he might be raped by the monks. His sister visting Ouranopolis was told by a doctor that he had just been called out for an emergency visit to Mount Athos to treat a monk injured in a sex act. On Patmos island I was told monks pay for gay sex with young men in cars.
The general view of the Orthodox clergy is that they are the worst, most avaricious and decadent people in the country.
Time magazine reported in the 1940s that Mount Athos, which sided with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in World War Two, about the plague of homosexuality (not enough visitors at that time, it seems), kidnapping of male children and male prostitutes.
“An alarming number of monks have taken to smoking, alcohol, even narcotics. And the immemorial escape from celibacy has threatened to become a fever sickening the whole “Great Academy of the Greek Clergy.” The Greek press has stormed about the kidnapping of male children for the monks of Athos, and motorboats carrying male prostitutes are constantly reported chugging into the monastery harbors.”
If you don’t hear about these activities today, it is because the Orthodox church works in league with the police and government to silence anyone who tries to bring charges against them, as my case shows.
Local people tell me anyone who tries to take legal action against the Orthodox church is murdered, and I believe it, in the meantime.
“And yet how many meek and humble monks there are, yearning for solitude and fervent prayer in peace! These are less noticed, or passed over in silence,” says Father Zosima.
“Meanwhile, in their solitude, they keep the image of Christ fair and undefiled, in the purity of God’s truth, from the times of the Fathers of old, the Apostles and the martyrs.”
For just as there are the utterly corrupt, and the utterly depraved among the Orthodox clergy, there are also a few, a very few, saintly people such as the Elder Porphyrios, whose gift of healing enabled thousands of people to recover from illnesses.
Porphyrios was a monk on Mount Athos, albeit in a small “Skete,” and warned by his “elders” to stay away from other monks.
He became the chaplain at a hospital of Athens where many of his miraculous cures were recorded.
That said, my experience is a warning to anyone not to go to a Greek Orthodox monastery.