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King Charles Calls Greek Monk for Prayers After Cancer Diagnosis

King Charles Greek Monk
King Charles sought spiritual support from a Greek Orthodox monk. Credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales). CC BY-2.0/Flickr

After being diagnosed with cancer, King Charles called a Greek Orthodox monk on Mount Athos and asked him to pray for his health, as revealed on Tuesday.

Elder Ephraim who is currently Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi at Mount Athos told Cyprus TV that King Charles called him to receive consolation.

“When reaching out to a monk, you seek his prayers and consoling words for strength to overcome difficulties.”

He added that King Charles is a spiritual person with whom he has kept a close relationship over the years. “I believe he will overcome cancer.”

Ephraim also revealed that King Charles has visited the monastic community of Mount Athos eight times, and Ephraim himself has also visited King Charles several times, where he was always welcomed.

“We have developed a very good relationship with King Charles. He is interested in spiritual life and has spiritual concerns. Despite being Anglican and the protector of his church, he is still interested in our church” Ephraim said, adding that “his contemplation and the questions he asked always moved me.”

When the journalist asked Abbot Ephraim how King Charles feels after being diagnosed with cancer, he replied, “He knows what spiritual life is… Every person tries to bear their own cross.”

Relationship between Greek monk and King Charles

In 1998 he visited the Vatopedi Monastery, where he met Abbot Ephraim for the first time. Since then, his visits to Athos increased. From spring 2003 to May 2004 he visited Mount Athos three times. Always accompanied by bodyguards and politely refusing the presence of Greek officials.

A report by the Guardian newspaper in 2004 suggested that the then Prince Charles had become enamored of the Orthodox faith to the point that he adorned a section of his home at Highgrove with prized Byzantine icons. Many are believed to originate from Mount Athos, the Orthodox world’s holiest site.

“There is no question that the British royal is Orthodox in his heart,” a monk confided to the Guardian as Charles was making a secret visit to Mount Athos. “Sadly, he is very constrained by his position,” the monk added.

The British newspaper reported that when the prince arrived in Athos days after the death of Princess Diana, it was Abbot Ephraim who induced him to join the faith. Closeted in a chamber alone with the abbot, Charles is believed to have made a “spiritual commitment” to Christian Orthodoxy.

King Charles, has been diagnosed with a still undisclosed type of cancer for which he began regular treatments on Monday, February 5th.  Public duties have been postponed during treatment, Buckingham Palace has said.

According to the Palace, the king, 75, “remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible.”

The King and his relationship with Greece

Charles III is a well-known lover of Greece, a philhellene, and a regular visitor. He was present at and gave a speech during, the events to mark the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.

When King Charles—then Prince Charles—said that Greece is in his blood upon his first official visit to the country, he was not just speaking metaphorically, as both his father and grandfather were born in Greece.

The grandfather of the Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, was born at Tatoi Palace, on the outskirts of Athens in 1882. His father, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was born on the island of Corfu at Mon Repos Palace in 1921.

Related: King Charles’ Mysterious Links to the Greek Orthodox Faith



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