ATHENS – A verbal battle ensued after the Parliamentary group spokesman for the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party said he didn’t want a venerated cross used to bless a hospital and patients.
The Church of Greece was upset that Nikos Filis complained about the use of a relic of Saint Barbara, an adored saint, which was brought to Greece.
Filis said the relic was taken to Aghios Savvas Hospital in Athens and he objected, saying religion didn’t belong in a hospital.
“It is wrong to send the message that medicine can be replaced,” said the SYRIZA MP. “It gives the wrong message to patients because it is a form of populism that distances them from science.”
Archbishop Ieronymos’s spokesman Haris Konidaris accused Filis of engaging in a “supposed left-wing anti-clericalism” and called on him to follow the example of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who “has total respect for Greeks’ religious feelings.”
Saint Barbara is said to have lived in 3rd-Century Nicomedia, present-day Turkey. In the Orthodox Church, she is also known as the Great Martyr Barbara.