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God’s mysterious ways: Mt Athos monks meet with Development Minister

Holy “investors” at the Development Ministry. A high-ranking monks delegation from the Megisti Lavras Monastery in Mount Athos visited the Minister of Development and Investment, Adonis Georgiadis.

The Ministry of Development inaugurates “a constant communication with the Holy Guard, so that the Holy Mountain proceeds and continues its glorious course.” This was stated, among others by Minister Georgiadis during his meeting with monk Nikodemos and the two other members of the Mt Athos delegation and the Deputy Minister of Development and Investment, Yiannis Tsakiris.

“We met with the delegation from the Holy Community of Mount Athos, we received their blessing and started a partnership because, of course, the Ministry of Development and Investments, following the orders of the Prime Minister, could not indifferent to the greatest symbol of Orthodoxy in our homeland,” Georgiadis said.

However, he did not elaborate on the exact kind of partnership the Development and Investment Ministry started with the monks from the most powerful monastery on Mt Athos.

“A swap deal like the Vatopedi in the past?” some Greeks wonder, while others falsely suspect a possible land appropriation – whereas it would be correct to write “protection from land appropriation…”

Everybody knows that “God moves in mysterious ways” and in this sense all we can do is to anticipate that He will make the big revelation on the issue one day in the near or far future.

Nevertheless, the holy monks were thrilled about the meeting and Nikodimos said “We feel great joy, great enthusiasm. Because when the 7 years of thin cows have passed and the change comes, one can not see another sun rising and another air blowing in our homeland, and remain untouched.”

Nikodimos thanked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the name of Mt Athos for the things he did and “had not announced in his pre-elections program. This is a very pleasant surprise,” the monk said – and nobody understood what exactly he meant.

What did Mitsotakis do for Mt Athos?

A well-kept secret?

The Monastery of Great Lavra (Megistis Lavras) is the first monastery built on Mount Athos in 963 AD. The founder of Great Lavra, Athanasius the Athonite began the construction of the buildings in 963, according to the will of his friend and Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas who funded the project. Nikephoros had promised Athanasius that he would soon become a monk of Great Lavra but he was murdered by his wife and his nephew Ioannis Tzimiskes who later became a byzantine emperor.However, a permanent imperial grant, which was doubled by John I Tzimiskes, allowed the integration of the buildings. The emperors gave also the Great Lavra many other lands of property including the island of Saint Eustratius and the Monastery of Saint Andreas in Thessaloniki.

And not only. The monks are also businessmen, participate with 95% in a joint venture with the Greek construction company ENTEKA in one of the largest wind farms in the Aegean, with a power of 330 megawatts, a project worth 600 million euros. The submarine interconnection of Larymna- Skyros island has been in planning since 2010: Nine wind farms in the south of the island of Skyros, consisting of 111 wind turbines to be installed in a barren area without settlements.

However, the ownership of the monastery’s grounds in the southern part of the island is the subject of a dispute with local institutions and residents. Furthermore, the locals had claimed that the project was of disproportional large size for the area. Unfortunately I could not find any more information whether courts ruled about the ownership or about the dispute between the locals and the Monastery as the last stand was in 2013.

According to energypress, still in May 2019, wind farms investors of projects launched after 2010 were waiting for a legislation to determine their compensation (tariff) for the electricity production. The legislation did not come.

At the every end, God’s ways are not so mysterious but very earthy and business-oriented.

PS Some mean Greeks advise the Development Minister, though, to speak directly with God and avoid representatives and intermediates for they could ask a commission for investment deals.

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