Church of Greece to State: Keep Priests on the Payroll

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 poverty caused by the crisis

“Every day we witness the tragic circumstances of growing poverty, and the dangers of unemployment and insecurity,” he said.

“We are called as a church to rise to the occasion, despite the negative atmosphere.”

Greece’s financial crisis has already cost the country some 200,000 jobs, with further reforms expected to push unemployment higher than current levels of 13.5 per cent — and spur a new round of labour protests.

The country’s civil servants union, ADEDY, has called a 24-hour strike for Feb. 10, while pharmacy owners are due to begin strikes Wednesday against regulations to liberalize their tightly-regulated business.


  1. Taxed money pays the clergy. Near total security and near total unaccountability, except to the interests of the state. So, you go to church on Independence day, go to the courthouse to buy property, the church to get married, the motor vehicles licensing center for driving, the church on the big easter party (Christ is risen — then OUT TO PARRRTY!!!) Sunday attendance really is no different than going to one of the antiquities museums or musical or cultural performances.

    • The Church of Greece has been responsible for taking care of many needy people in Greece, which includes
      many immigrants from Muslim countries, who do not end up living at the expense of the state.

      What is your point about Sunday attendance? I spend at least a month a year in Greece, and every Church or
      Monastery I go to is usually packed with the faithful. Why would you compare Sunday services with museums?

      Greece has the Byzantine concept of Symphonia (Church-State harmony). Perhaps they should follow the
      European lead and remove all crosses and Icons from schools and public buildings, and perhaps remove the
      Cross from the Greek flag?

      I see nothing wrong with Priests being paid by the State. The Church maintains its independence from the state
      as can be seen by the resistance of the Church of Greece to attempts to impose secularization on Greece and
      by politicians who seek to impose gay marriage on the country.


  2. The Church requests priests from the state? What a wonderful vocations program!!!!! This is not going to end well.

  3. We have enough priests they are far wealthier than people imagine for shame they are doing this to Greece i say enough is enough and start being more tough. Its going to be a very hard road for the Greek people and they dont need anymore vultures.

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