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On “Religious Diplomacy” visit in #Greece, #Putin as a faithful asks for privacy moments on Mount Athos

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Russian President asked for privacy during the last hours of his trip to Mount Athos in Greece, and for personal pilgrimage time at the Garden of Virgin Mary, and especially during his visit to the Russian Monastery

 “I am glad to have the opportunity to visit again in Athos, which is rightly called the Garden of the Virgin Mary,” Russian President said  at the Mount Athos’ administrative center of Karyes, and stressed that “every man who walks on this earth of prayer, brings particular feelings.”

“The Holy Mountain is a unique defender of Orthodoxy,” Vladimir Putin said, praising the Mount Athos’ role in the strengthening of Christianity.

We look forward to the establishment of relations with the Holy Mountain” concluded expressing his pleasure for  that ” each year more and more visiting pilgrims from Russia.”

The Russian head of state  head privately to the St. Panteleimon monastery, after the official welcome ceremony  at Karyes, where he was welcomed by the Religious leaders and the Greek President , and lighted a candle and kissed the holy icon at Protaton church .

At St Panteleimon monastery, which is inhabited by Russian monks,  President Putin was met by the 102-year-old abbot Jeremiah and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

Abbot Jeremiah is the older among all monks in the Athos society. Those who have met him say that he might become a Saint due to his special spiritual value. Greek media reported that he is the “spiritual father” (pnevmatikos) of President Putin

Putin has arrived at the monastic center of Holy Mount Athos on his second and last day of his visit to Greece on Saturday afternoon. He visited Mount Athos’ administrative center of Karyes, and the Protaton church which is under the ownership of the Holy Kinot, Athos’ high governing council.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos welcomed Vladimir Putin alongside local religious dignitaries, followed by a short service at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Putin  then addressed  members of the Holy Kinot stressing the importance of strengthening relations between Russia and Mount Athos , for the religious strength that this would provide to the Russian people

Russia and Greece celebrate 2016 as a cross-cultural year, marking the millennial anniversary since the first Russian settlement on the Holy Mount Athos.

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Mount Athos is a peninsula in northeastern Greece with 20 monasteries – 17 Greek, one Russian named after St. Panteleimon, one Bulgarian and one Serbian. The 20 monasteries rule Athos through their representatives that make up the Holy Kinot.

Vladimir Putin arrived in Greece for his two-day visit on Friday. During  his meeting with  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras,

the Greek leader  said that strengthening ties between Moscow and Athens is the “strategic choice” of the Greek nation.

The Russian leader, during his speeches in Athens on Friday, but also on Mount Athos on Saturday,

repeatedly  underscored that Russia and Greece have common civilization values and Orthodox culture.

Russian Orthodox Church leader Kirill  had already arrived since Friday on Mount Athos to join Vladimir Putin during his visit today.

It is not the first time Putin is visiting Athos. Actually,during his visit to Greece in September 2005, he was the first Russian leader to visit the holy place.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens on Friday.

Jointly with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, Vladimir Putin visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens and attended the opening of the exhibition of the Ascension icon painted by Andrei Rublev in 1408, which is part of the State Tretyakov Gallery’s collection.

The Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens, where the icon is exhibited, houses one of the most famous collections of Byzantine art. Its exposition counts more than 25,000 icons and divine service items, jewellery pieces, sculptures, mosaics, frescoes, ceramic items and manuscripts covering the period from the 3rd to the 20th century.

 

The first collection of the museum, which was officially opened in 1914, was put together by the councillor to Queen Olga of the Hellenes (before marriage Grand Duchess Olga Romanova), founder of the Christian Archaeological Society George Lambakis.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to attend the opening of this unique exhibition of the Ascension icon, a masterpiece from the collection of Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. This is a work by a great icon-painter, monk Andrei Rublev.

Andrei Rublev took his inspiration from the cultural and religious heritage of Byzantium, whose spiritual successor Greece is. Having mastered various elements and techniques of Byzantine artists, Rublev was able to add to and enrich them. Mr Prime Minister highlighted the Russian style of this icon.

For a long time, the name of Andrei Rublev was known only to specialists. It was only in the 20th century that his art gained broader recognition. Only five of his works, five icons, have survived. The Ascension is one of them. It exudes a sense of harmony and a balance of form that are inherent to the artist. The icon was painted in the early 15th century during the restoration of the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir.

I would also like to highlight that the exhibition is held as part of the cross-cultural years of Russia and Greece, whose launches the President of Greece and I declared in Moscow in January. I am sure that many more memorable events will be held in the course of this extensive project.

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Religious Diplomacy, notes Le Monde

By using “religious diplomacy” Moscow wants to break Europe’s unity against Russia because Greece has long opposed Western anti-Russian sanctions, an article in the French newspaper Le Figaro said.

“Vladimir Putin is the president of a country where the constitution proclaims the separation of church and state. At the same time, he is a religious person, taking into account his planned visit to Mount Athos, one of the most important orthodox holy places,” the article read.

Vladimir Putin’s cooperation with Tsipras may break the anti-Russian unanimity within the European Union. Greek Prime Mnister Alexis Tsipras, since he assumed his post  has repeatedly criticized Western sanctions against Russia.

The Russian president and Patriarch Kirill have a common mission during their visit to Greece, the article noted.

Ahead of the visit, Vladimir Putin wrote an article that was published  by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini , where the Russian leader underlined that

throughout different epochs religion and patriotism have helped the Russian and Greek peoples preserve their identity .

He added that Russia is indispensable for Europe.

“An alliance between state and church is becoming more and more visible in Russia,” the article read.

Recently, the Russian Orthodox Church proposed to establish a new monetary organization controlled by all countries.

According to Le Figaro, thus the Church criticized global dollar and euro dominance.

Visit our updated on #PutininGreece Gree2m Special HomePage

 

These Greeks do read the drafts before signing them! Tsipras strongly condemned the “multiple agreement draft versions” handling of the failed Eurogroup .

We don’t make not even a single step back from our promises to the Greek people, we start straight away from tomorrow on our structural reforms for the people bleeding from loans, unemployment and poverty,

Tsipras just said on the Parliamentary meeting of the governing party, SYRIZA, (where he proposed the New President of Democracy)  showing his unshakable decision to fulfill his commitments for a national rescue program, by especially focusing on the most vulnerable groups,  Alexis Tsipras emphasized on this statements, some hours after the failed eurogroup agreement of yesterday, The red lines of this government,  Alexis explained, are the No to the “extention”  of the previous Memorandum, and the availability of this government to relieve, as possible, those parts of the population who are bleeding on emergency situation from the Memorandum policies

“The replacement of the one draft with the other, on the Eurogroup yesterday”, underlined Alexis Tsipras, “is the proof  that some parts of the eurozone want to undermine any resolution between Europe and Greece.”

“There is no way back to the Greek life of humiliation,  vassalage,  and depression”, Alexis said . “We will serve our commitment to serve the dignity of the Greek citizen, which concerns any European citizen’s  dignity of today and tomorrow”.

But what’s the story with this draft , that was rejected by Athens as an ‘unacceptable’ European deal ?

“The draft was  “away from what it had been agreed so far. Under these circumstances, Athens sees no way that “there could be an agreement tonight.”

the  Greek Finance minister Varoufaksi stated at the international press briefing just after the eurogroup.

The draft  statement which Greece rebuffed suggested that the Greek authorities should give their “firm commitment to refrain from unilateral action and will work in close agreement with its European and international partners, especially in the field of tax policy, privatization, labour market reforms, financial sector and pensions.”

Greek officials grumbled that Mr Varoufakis was presented with an unacceptable text as soon as he walked into the room. This is the text

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It is a “text not consistent with what has been discussed and agreed upon so far,” the Prime Minister’s office said by a non paper  :

The insistence of some circles to implement the new Greek government Memorandum is absurd and unacceptable. The implementation of the Memorandum program was off the table at the summit. Those who restore it, they are wasting their time.

“Under these circumstances there can be no agreement today.” (in.gr)

Yianis Vaoufakis underlined on his statements after the Eurogroup that he rebuffed this specific draft statement put to him by Mr Dijsselbloem as the meeting got under way . But he would have signed a text put to him before the meeting by Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economics commissioner.

As  Varoufakis explained, Mr. Moscovici had asked to meet the Greek Finance Minister before the eurogroup meeting, where he had shown him another version of the statement on which Mr. Varoufakis had agreed .

This is the first version of the Moscovici draft

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You can check the similarities and differences, especially on the paragraph3 of the two drafts “The Greek authorities should give their “firm commitment ….pensions” is put afterwards on the Dijsselbloem draft.

 Mr Varoufakis strongly  denounced that Mr Dijsselbloem had refused to discuss a proposal from the executive European Commission that would have given Athens a four-month breathing space in return for the new government holding off on major policy changes.

But , wow! there is second version, also, of the Moscovici draft , as Paul Mason twitted later yesterday, commenting that it was even more improved pro-Greece

The meeting broke up less than four hours after the Eurogroup of finance ministers began talks with the aim of breaking the deadlock over the Greek bailout, three weeks after left-wing party Syriza swept to power in the general election.

But this was not the first time that a multiple version of a eurogroup draft leads Greece to leave the meeting without signing it . Last Wednesday the Greek Finance Minister also refused to sign an agreement draft , “that was trapping this government to fully accept the Memorandum as it were this gov’s responsibility,” and also “trapping this government to sign an extension”, MP of the governing party Mitropoulos had stated, who is a well informed lawyer on his field, after “decoding” the first Eurogroup trap.

And now , what? “The best way forward would be for the Greek authorities to seek an extension of the program,” Mr Dijsselbloem told a news conference.

Mr Dijsselbloem spoke of a need to rebuild trust and and  he emphasized: “Would a new programme look very different? I don’t think so. The rules and regulations talk about strict conditionalities. It would still be about fiscal sustainability.”

Arriving in Brussels earlier, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he was “sceptical” about the possibility of a deal. “What I have heard so far has not strengthened my optimism. It seems like we have no results so far,” he said. “I’m quite sceptical. The Greek government has not moved, apparently.”