Russian PM visits coronavirus-hit Mount Athos in Greece

Russian Prime minister Mikhail Mishustin on Saturday concluded a private visit to Mount Athos, a venerated male-only centre of Orthodox Christianity in Greece where eight monks have tested positive for coronavirus.

Commonly known as the Holy Mountain, Mount Athos is the spiritual capital of the Orthodox Christian world, consisting of 20 monasteries and about 700 houses, cells or hermitages housing approximately 1,700 monks.

The Russian premier arrived Thursday in the male-only preserve and stayed for two nights at the Filotheou monastery, the Athens News Agency reported.

On Saturday morning, Mishustin visited the Panteleimon monastery where almost all monks are Russian.

In 2016, Russian president, Vladimir Putin had made a private visit in Mount Athos during a two-day visit to Greece.

Mishutsin donated a large amount of medical supplies including masks, disinfectants and other means of protection from Covid-19.

Eight monks have tested positive for coronavirus and their monastery in Mount Athos has been quarantined last Monday. One of them monks has been taken to hospital in Thessaloniki in a serious condition.

It is not the first outbreak at the Mount Athos. Four monks tested positive in March after travelling to Britain but recovered quickly.

The community, known for its austere rules, is almost most completely isolated in a mountainous nature reserve in the Macedonia region.

Greece’s country’s lockdown from March to May hit the Church hard, wrecking its Easter celebrations.

Church leaders disputed some of the science behind the confinement rules — agreeing to halt masses but refusing to ban communion.

Greece has so far registered 376 deaths and more than 17,000 infections from the virus. (AFP)