The importance, uniqueness and international appeal of Mount Athos were underlined by main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras who arrived at the monastic community in Halkidiki Peninsula, northern Greece, on Thursday.
Tsipras was received by representatives of the Mount Athos monks at the administrative center of the monastic community in Karyes.
The SYRIZA leader said that he is captivated by the centuries-old tradition and contribution of Mount Athos and recognized its historical, cultural and religious significance.
“Many say that he who has not visited Mount Athos does injustice to himself. Because we do not want to be anymore one of those people, we came to Mount Athos and I want to thank you deeply for your invitation and warm welcome,” Tsipras said, adding that “the Greek state has a duty to protect this cultural heritage”.
“The honest respect with which we approach your history makes us want to help you meet the needs of your holy community from any office we are elected to by the Greek people in the future,” he underlined.
Tsipras arrived at noon for a two-day visit to the monastic community at the invitation of the holy fathers. He was received by Mt. Athos civilian administrator Aristos Kasmiroglou in Dafni and afterward he visited Karyes where he was received at the Holy Community Building by representatives of the 20 Mt. Athos monasteries.
The SYRIZA leader visited the Church of Protato where the historical icon “Axion Esti” of the Mother of Christ is being kept.
He is accompanied by his office director Nikos Pappas, SYRIZA MP and the party’s parliamentary group religious affairs sector head Yiannis Amanatidis and SYRIZA’s religious issues coordinator Makis Lykopoulos.
Tsipras will visit the monasteries of Simonos Petras, Karakallou, Iviron, Stavronikita and Xenofontos.
He will spend the night in Karakallou Monastery and tomorrow night he will stay in Xenofontos Monastery.
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