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14 October, 1997
President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos began a three-day visit to Mount Athos yesterday, reassuring the autonomous monastic community that the Greek state would guard its rights and privileges, particularly the question of its sovereignty that has been raised within the European Union.
Speaking at a meeting in Karyes, Mr. Stephanopoulos attributed the reactions within certain EU member states to ignorance as to how the community functions.
The president said the state realized its responsibilities to Mount Athnos and called for particular care on the part of Greece within the EU bodies so that the community's autonomy and privileges were not affected.
The president made a donation of 30 million drachmas to the community, suggesting that 10 million of that amount be used for the Mount Athos religious academy.
Later in the day, the president attended a liturgy and was to visit the academy, the monasteries of the Pantocrator and Vatopedi.
Source: Athens News Agency