Acting governor of St. Petersburg Mr. Georgy Poltavchenko has signed the appeal issued by the St. Andrew the Apostle Foundation and the “Friends of the Vatopedi Monastery” union, demanding the release of Abbot Efraim.
According to the Russian media, the governor announced his decision to formally support the arrested abbot through his Twitter account.
Since December 24 the two organizing bodies have been gathering signatures in support of the arrested and imprisoned cleric in Greece. Their appeal addresses the President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, the Greek PM Loukas Papademos and the Attorney General of the Supreme Court of Greece Ioannis Tentes.
According to the appeal, the actions taken by the Greek judicial authorities are characterized as unjust and have completely ignored the thousands of orthodoxs’ support to Abbot Efraim.
Mr. Poltavchenko had served in the past as a presidential representative to the Leningrad Prefecture and the Central Prefecture of the Russian Federation. At the moment he is also president of the Supervisory Board of the Russian-Athonic Association, which is responsible for promoting and coordinating many co-operation programmes between the Russian government or Russian bodies and Mount Athos.
Orthodox TV Soyuz has broadcasted Monday an extensive report on the matter, referring also to the signatures initiative in support of releasing the Athos Abbot in Belarus and the negative critics the Greek authorities have received for ignoring its own people’s and clerics’ wish to set free Abbot Efraim as he is no danger to the public.