News World Greeks move to separate Church-State

Greeks move to separate Church-State

A landmark agreement has been reached in Athens that will end the status of priests and bishops as civil servants and bring Greece a step closer to separation of Church and state.

Some 10,000 Church employees will come off the payroll, although their wages will still be paid as a state subsidy.

The Orthodox Church plays a significant role in public life in Greece.

What have they agreed?

The two leaders say the state will continue to pay the clergy’s salaries but no longer as civil servants. Greece has been trying to scale back its public sector after years of international bailouts.

Payment will be made through an annual subsidy of around €200m, and that fund will not be affected if the Church increases or reduces the number of priests.

In return, the Church will not oppose moves to make the state “religion neutral” and would drop any claim to property once taken over by the state.

The two sides said they would set up a joint fund to manage and develop sites claimed by both Church and state. Revenues and bills would be split 50-50.

Will anything change in Greece?

By Kostas Kallergis, BBC News

The deal between the prime minister and archbishop is definitely an important step towards Greece becoming a genuinely secular country, but the Greek Orthodox Church will remain omnipresent in numerous aspects of the Greek state.

Pupils at Greek schools still start their day with a prayer and continue to be taught religion throughout their 12-year mandatory education.

Greek courts have a religious icon hanging above the judge’s seat and some public services still have forms which require to know the citizens’ religion, despite this being theoretically illegal.

Even at the top political level, every new Greek government, including the last two headed by left-wing Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, have invited the country’s top clergy to sanctify them during the cabinet’s swearing-in ceremony.

And despite the archbishop’s concessions on constitutional reform, the preamble to the Greek constitution will continue to read “In the name of the Holy and Con-substantial and Indivisible Trinity” – a reference to the fact Greece is not simply Christian, but Christian Orthodox.

This deal is a first step, but there is clearly a very long way ahead before Church and state in Greece are completely separate.

What is the reaction to the agreement?

It will have to be approved by Church leaders as well as the government and MPs.

Not everyone is happy. A former education minister in the prime minister’s party complained that the salaries of 10,000 priests were being guaranteed when the number of hospital doctors during the bailout years was even smaller.

The association of Greek clerics complained that losing the status of civil servants could deny them existing rights and said priests felt betrayed that they had not been consulted about the deal.

(BBC)

Read more:

https://in-cyprus.com/news/international/tsipras-archbishop-to-discuss-separation-of-state-church/

Top Stories

WHO pauses trial of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns

The World Health Organization has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus...

UK to reopen thousands of shops in easing of coronavirus lockdown

Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, setting out...

Repeat positive cases ‘released’ three weeks from first diagnosis

The Health Ministry issued instructions on Friday on the release / ending of isolation for patients who tested positive to Covid-19 but are not...

Two new Covid cases in education and repatriations

Two new coronavirus cases were reported today by the health ministry, a drop from yesterday's eight, out of a total of 2128 tests, raising...

Minister: Back to school for 769 pupils with disabilities

  More than 760 children with disabilities who were told they could not go back to school when primary and lower secondary schools reopened last...

Taste

Traditional salads that will blow your mind away

This traditional salads will make you actually love salads! Cyprus may be famous for souvla and kleftiko but if you try the traditional salads with...

Honey Balls

As you stroll down Onasagorou street in the old city of Nicosia and suddenly feel the need for something sweet, follow the smell of...

Octopus with Oregano

Ingredients: (Serves 4) 1 kg octopus ½ tsp dry oregano Pepper 3 tbsp olive oil 2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice Preparation: Clean the octopus thoroughly under cold running water. Place the octopus...

Fish meatballs

In a bowl, mix the finely chopped onion and parsley. Boil the fish, cut into small pieces and add to the bowl. Add salt...