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

Near zero domestic bookings on weekdays, says hotel association

By Demetra Landou Hotels who have or will open in the coming days mostly count on Cypriot residents for business this year. However, these are...

Turkish court hears case on turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque

    A Turkish court on Thursday heard a case aimed at converting Istanbul's sixth century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and will announce its...

New Places: Zachoulis

The famous Athenian chain set tables in its beautiful garden, which it is designed according to the new conditions and welcomes us by serving...

New Spaces: Gastroland Project

A gastronomic journey to the kitchens of the world promises the new arrival in Larnaca, triggering the owners’ love for quality food and vision...

Tougher penalties for animal abuse move closer

    An animal welfare bill currently under consideration by the House of Representatives proposes a significant increase in penalties for animal cruelty, with political parties...

Taste

Cyprus sprouts with cream and prosciutto

In a big, deep frying pan, fry the prosciutto in the olive oil, on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic...

Pork burger with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies

Mix all the ingredients together with the mince in a bowl, and combine well. Divide into 4 balls and form the burgers. Warm a griddle/pan...

Sheftalies

Wash the lamb cauls with plenty of cold water and let them settle in water and vinegar for a little while. Soak the bread crumbs...

Loukaniko Pitsilias – Pitsilia Sausage

Pitsilia sausage is produced in the Pitsilia region from pork minced meat that is “cooked” ( matured) in the dry red wine of the...