On April 4th around 400 clerics and laity gathered in the New Athos Monastery and expressed distrust towards self-proclaimed leader of the Abkhazian Church hierarchy Vissarion Aplia in connection with appointment of Hegumen Efrem (Vinogradov).
"We are outraged that the father Vissarion decides unilaterally, in secret from the Christian people of Abkhazia fate of temples and monasteries of Abkhazia that are holy places of our people. In this regard, we have completely lost confidence of priest Vissarion Aplia and are seriously concerned about the fate of not only monasteries in the New Athos, but also about the future of the whole church, "- said priest Andrey Ampar at the gathering.
At the meeting it was decided that on May 15th to convene gathering of the church and people which will be attended by representatives of the church hierarchy and Abkhazia interested branches of government. The invitation will be sent to Abkhazian clerics residing abroad.
Vissarion Aplia declined to comment on this fact citing the period of Lent as a reason.
Information about sending of Hegumen Efrem (Vinogradov) was reported by the Abkhazian media. Today the Georgian Orthodox Church has denied this information with reference to the Russian Orthodox Church.
At the same time it is reported that Hegumen Efrem was not sent to serve as hegumen of the New Athos Monastery but as its deputy. And information about his stay in Abkhazia has been confirmed.