ATHENS (Reuters) - Four Moldovan women accidentally violated a 1,000-year-old ban on females entering the all male monastic community of Mount Athos, when they were left on Greek shores by human traffickers.
Police said on Monday the women — aged between 27 and 32 — as well as a 41-year-old Moldovan man were smuggled from Turkey by boat to the Greek Orthodox community of 20 monasteries, long off limits to women. The reached land on Sunday.
“They told police and the monks they were sorry but they couldn’t have known this was a no-women area,” said a police officer, who declined to be named. “They were forgiven.”
Monks spotted the women late on Sunday and alerted police. Under Greek law, the violation of the ban on women on Mount Athos, considered Orthodox Christianity’s spiritual home, is illegal and can be punished with up to two years in jail.
Reporting by Renee Maltezou, editing by Elizabeth Piper