August 21, 2014

Abp. Ieronymos: Redefine our message

During a visit to Ionian island of Zakynthos yesterday, Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, warned yesterday that the Church has to redefine its message for contemporary society.

If today we do not, like [island patron saint] Saint Dionysios, give witness to the ecclesiastical truth in a spirit of humility, peace and unity, then we will be tragic and outdated figures of an atavistic past with an eccentric role in our popular and meaningless religious festivals.

In Kathimerini’s “Face to Face with Ourselves,” Nikos Konstandaras includes the Greek clergy in the long list of those culpable for the current anarchy on the streets of Athens.

Rage has boiled over because citizens have seen scandals hit our politicians (wiretaps, the Siemens bribery case, the Vatopedi Monastery land swap), our clergy (collusion with judges, Vatopedi), our judges (collusion with clergy, a “civil war” among various factions). Everyone knows that there will be no catharsis, that everything gets swept under the rug. When no one is held accountable, everyone is accountable and our institutions lose their authority. Citizens see politicians and journalists getting rich through their exploitation of power and their contacts with businessmen. They know that those with contacts will exploit the system for their own benefit. And the system endures, corrupting everything and everyone because too many of us believe that it is not really in our interest to demand meritocracy and justice, perhaps also in the hope that we can share in the spoils of the current state of affairs.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis acknowledged as much this week. In a speech to parliamentary colleagues, he said “long-unresolved problems, such as the lack of meritocracy, corruption in everyday life and a sense of social injustice disappoint young people.”

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