Reverend Paul Williams (R) greets King Charles III and Queen Camilla as they arrive at St Mary Magdalene Church
King Charles III is pictured here greeting Rev. Paul Williams on his way to attend mass at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham with Queen Camilla amid his cancer treatment. AFP News

A Greek Orthodox monk has claimed that King Charles III secretly contacted him after he was diagnosed with cancer. The 75-year-old monarch received the shock diagnosis after he underwent a corrective procedure to treat an enlarged prostate late last month.

Archimandrite Ephraim, who serves as the abbot at the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi in north-eastern Greece, has never publicly spoken about his friendship with His Majesty before. But he recently told The Sun that the monarch "has been in contact since the diagnosis" as he shared his belief that the King will "overcome it".

The 67-year-old elder likewise claimed that he has "a very good rapport" with King Charles III. According to the publication, they have been friends for over 25 years after they became close following Princess Diana's tragic death in 1997. The monarch has since reportedly relied on Ephraim for guidance.

The King has made several visits to Mount Athos, on the Greek peninsula, in the past. He also visited Elder Ephraim's 10th century Vatopedi monastery eight times. He even has his own room at Vatopedi, on the all-male Mount. The monk noted that "Charles has a spiritual sophistication, a spiritual life."

An unnamed source said: "There are no distractions so he can meditate, pray and follow ancient rituals like getting up at 4am to follow the liturgy which he absolutely adores."

According to The Guardian, King Charles III paid three "clandestine" trips to Mount Athos between spring 2003 and May 2004 and that he has become enamoured with the Orthodox faith. So much so, that he even has a section in his home at Highgrove adorned with Byzantine idols.

Palace spokeswoman Kirstine Clark told the newspaper at the time: "He goes there as a private individual, not in his official capacity as the Prince of Wales. Visits are very much in his private time, so we don't issue details. What I can say is that he is interested in the architecture and spirituality of Mount Athos."

Meanwhile, one Athonite monk shared that "there is no question that the British royal is Orthodox in his heart. Sadly, he is very constrained by his position."

The newspaper added that Elder Ephraim is a frequent visitor at Highgrove and that he personally instructed King Charles III in eastern Christianity. He also convinced him to join the faith. The monarch is believed to have made a "spiritual commitment" to Christian Orthodoxy.

It is worth mentioning that the monarch's Orthodoxy runs in his blood. His father, the late Prince Philip, was born in Corfu, an island in Greece. The late royal was baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church before his family was exiled from the country in 1922. He had to convert to Anglicanism to marry Queen Elizabeth II.

As for Elder Ephraim's revelations, Buckingham Palace has yet to corroborate his claims that the King sought his spiritual guidance over his cancer diagnosis. The palace previously announced that His Majesty has started with his treatments and that he remains positive that he will overcome the disease.

It is not known what cancer he has or how severe it is, although it is reportedly not prostate cancer. The palace said His Majesty chose to share his diagnosis "in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer".

King Charles III has since resumed his weekly in-person meetings amid his cancer treatment. He met with U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week, Wednesday, at Buckingham Palace. The monarch appeared in good spirits as he shared that he received "wonderful messages and cards" from the public, some he said reduced him to tears.