April 24, 2014

Church of Greece to State: Keep Priests on the Payroll

syntagma

Source: MSN News | January 17, 2011 ATHENS, Greece - Greece's powerful Orthodox Church urged the government in the crisis-hit country on Monday to relax tough hiring restrictions so it can put more priests on the state payroll. The government last year paid the salaries of 10,800 priests and church staff — who are technically civil servants — out of 757,500 "permanent employees" in the public sector. In 2011, Greece will only hire one new state employee for every five leaving, as part of its euro110-billion (US$146-billion) international bailout loan agreement. And most of those positions will be taken up through mandatory transfers to reduce staff at loss-making state enterprises. The church's governing Holy Synod said Monday that it would request a "limited number" of new priests to cover pressing "operating and pastoral needs." Church leader, Archbishop Ieronymos, urged Greek bishops to make charity programs a priority in 2011 to meet the needs from a surge in … [Read more...]

Battle looming over icons and prayers in Greek schools

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MbEL-C7ypU[/youtube] The head of the Greek Orthodox Church has warned the country's new socialist government that it faces a major battle over removing religious symbols from schools. The European Court in Strasbourg has ordered Italy to take down crucifixes from its classrooms, and Greece's Justice Minister has acknowledged that it may have to follow suit. From Lamia in Central Greece, Malcolm Brabant reports. "This is a major battle of faith, which is just beginning," he says. From Moscow, December 21 (RIA Novosti): Europe's future unthinkable without Christianity - Patriarch Kirill The future of the European continent is impossible without taking into account its Christian heritage, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church said Monday. "People who attached great significance to European cultural and religious identity as an important element of pan-European wellbeing were among the EU originators," Patriarch Kirill of Moscow … [Read more...]

Church of Greece rallies opposition to crucifix ban

crucifix

From Malcolm Brabant reporting for the BBC in Athens: The Greek Orthodox Church is urging Christians across Europe to unite in an appeal against a ban on crucifixes in classrooms in Italy. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled last week that the presence of crucifixes violated a child's right to freedom of religion. Greece's Orthodox Church fears the Italian case will set a precedent. It has called an emergency Holy Synod meeting for next week to devise an action plan. Although the Greek Orthodox Church has been at odds with Roman Catholicism for 1,000 years, the judicial threat to Christian symbols has acted as a unifying force. The European Court of Human Rights found that the compulsory display of crucifixes violated parents' rights to educate their children as they saw fit and restricted the right of children to believe or not to believe. … [Read more...]

Odds & Ends

-- A new book claims that the "Greek mafia" controlled not only the drug trade in Tarpon Springs but the local Greek Orthodox Church, too. Some say the book is "a bunch of garbage." -- Church of Greece bishops are anxious about the new Socialist government's plan to tax church property. Don't forget about property owned by the Roman Catholics and the Ecumenical Patriarch, the bishops helpfully remind. Separately, there's a question about those 1.2 million Euros. -- Archons make their case for the Ecumenical Patriarchate before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). -- "Among the comments that received most attention was Metropolitan Geevarghese Coorilos's suggestion to look at the reality of the church not only 'from above', but also 'from below', taking into account the daily experience of 'being church' in particular contexts, citing the example of his Dalit church in Kerala, India." Is this what we mean by "practiced incoherence"? -- While Moscow … [Read more...]

Greek Socialists Seeking ‘Diaspora’ Talent

Sworn in

A roundup of news in the wake of the Socialists' return to power in Greece: Greek Orthodox Archbishop Demetrios congratulated George Papandreou on his election victory in Greece. The Archbishop wished him success in his “manifold work for the benefit of the homeland and the Greeks abroad.” "Diplomats," dismayed at rising xenophobia and nationalism, cheered Papandreou's victory: A self-described "diaspora Greek" who was born in the US, Papandreou is conspicuously cosmopolitan. As president of Socialist International, the world grouping of leftwing parties, he has campaigned for minority rights and the decriminalisation of drugs ... "Our biggest challenge is to regain the confidence of the Greek people who have lost their faith in politics and in what Greece can do," he told the Observer. "One of the reasons this government failed was because it had no credibility after the amazing corruption we have seen in the last year. I am a socialist, but I am very … [Read more...]

Church collection box full to the brim

From Kathimerini: The Church of Greece’s finances are in rude health, according to a report handed to Archbishop Ieronymos this week, which indicated that the church made more than 7 million euros profit in 2008. According to the internal report, which was seen by Kathimerini, almost 20 million euros of revenue flowed into the church’s coffers last year, mostly from the renting out of church property. It also earned some 4.5 million euros from investments. During 2008, the church spent almost 12.5 million euros. The biggest outlay, just over 4 million euros, was for sponsoring events. Almost 4 million was spent on salaries. Last year, the robust state of the church’s finances also allowed it to buy 1.6 million shares in the National Bank, taking its stake in the lender up to 7.7 million shares. … [Read more...]

Church of Greece Seeks State Help for Charitable Work

From Kathimerini: The Church of Greece is hoping that the government will take seriously the request it made this week for help in making best use of some of the thousands of properties it owns so it can fund a number of charity projects. Sources told Kathimerini yesterday that the Church is hopeful that Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias, who met with Archbishop Ieronymos on Wednesday, will respond favorably to the request. The Church wants the government to help it develop some of the properties in Athens, including one in the upmarket neighborhood of Kolonaki, as part of a plan to build rehabilitation centers for drug addicts, old people’s homes and care centers for cancer sufferers and autistic children. After Wednesday’s meeting, Souflias acknowledged the archbishop’s “burning desire to make a contribution to society but which requires work and funds for which he has requested our support.” … [Read more...]

Heresy vs. Hope: Dr. Peter Bouteneff on “Two Texts on Ecumenicism”

Peter-Bouteneff

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Greek clergy circulate document on ‘pan-heresy of ecumenism’

(Ecumenical News International) -- A group of Orthodox clergy in Greece, led by three senior archbishops, have published a manifesto pledging to resist all ecumenical ties with Roman Catholics and Protestants. "The only way our communion with heretics can be restored is if they renounce their fallacy and repent," the group said in a "Confession of Faith against Ecumenism" that they circulated recently. "The Orthodox church is not merely the true church; she is the only church. She alone has remained faithful to the Gospel, the synods and the fathers, and consequently she alone represents the true catholic church of Christ," says the document. The signatories say they wish to preserve "irremovably and without alteration" the Orthodox faith that the Early Church had "demarcated and entrenched," and to shun communication "with those who innovate on matters of the faith". The list of clerics backing the manifesto is said to include six metropolitans (Panteleimon of Antinoes, … [Read more...]

The Greek Ecclesiastical Settlement

A really interesting passage from "The legacy of the French Revolution: Orthodoxy and nationalism," an essay by Paschalis Kitromilides, which explains, among other things, the historical process by which the Church of Greece was granted autocephaly. While the Enlightenment confronted the church with a secular universalist ideology, which, questions of doctrine aside, could in some instances complement and even sustain its own ecumenical values, nationalism gave rise to a conflict, where the issues not only were on the level of secular versus transcendental values but also set the ecumenicity of Christian ideals against the parochialism of nationalism. The history of this conflict turned out to be identical with the history of the Orthodox Church in the nineteenth century. Ultimately, writes Kitromilides, "the ecumenical patriarchate, once its own formal requirements were satisfied, supplied the canonical sanction for turning regional churches into instruments of secular … [Read more...]

Archbishop Ieronymos: Easter message

Athens, 15.04.2009 Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, in his Easter message, expressed a wish to the faithful “to meet the Risen Christ in their fellow human beings.” “The Resurrection of Christ is a reminder of the light’s supremacy over darkness,” the Archbishop mentioned, adding that in this light “the individual is met with the true calling, which is none other than meeting God through helping other people — regardless of language, colour, religion and culture.” “The clouds of the imminent economic crisis may cast a shadow over the prospects and future of many of our brothers but a much deeper crisis is experienced when we continue a provocatively indifferent stance toward our fellow human being,” he stressed. Source: ANA-MPA … [Read more...]

Greeks losing interest in Hellenism

The anarchists that sank Greece into a near state of chaos late last year are now taking aim at the Church: Greece is seeing an unprecedented spate of terrorist attacks against churches. Among the churches that were hit, in one case during religious service, were the Athens Metropolitan Church, the Piraeus Metropolitan Church, and the Church of St. Demetrios in Thessaloniki. Greek media have described these attacks, the likes of which Greece has not seen even when the country was under occupation, as a “declaration of war against the Church of Greece.” All of the bombs were defused in time and only one, at Agia Triada in Pireaus, caused minor damage. The organization “Conspiracy of the Nuclei of Fire – Commandos” along with “The Nihilist Faction” assumed responsibility for the attack and in a manifesto claimed “Religion is a mechanism of power that plays a particularly devious role in subjugating people.” Authorities in Greece are taking the attacks very seriously, especially in … [Read more...]