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Church

Archbishop Elpidophoros Delivers Keynote Address at Holocaust Remembrance Events

THESSALONIKI – Speaking on the Day of Remembrance of the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America warned against the spread of antisemitism by religious and church officials.

“We are all witnessing an alarming outbreak of anti-Semitism internationally,” he said in his remarks on January 28 in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. “Anti-Semitism is increasingly used as an easy and simplistic excuse for a wide array of issues, ranging from political crises and economic turbulence to natural disasters and the recent global health crisis. There are those who believe that our complex and often contradictory world finds coherence and significance through the lens of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism becomes an effective mechanism for defusing public discontent, especially in times of crisis. The notion of ‘God-killing people,’ as a scapegoat for virtually all troubles, conveniently allows individuals to shift blame onto others, evading accountability for their own choices.”

“The most important and most disheartening thing is the instrumentalization of anti-Semitism by religious and church officials. I have no intention of excluding anyone. The oil of religion in this case, instead of healing the wounds, rekindles the fire,” Archbishop Elpidophoros noted.

“Evil bears a name, an identity, and a history,” he said. “It goes by the names of ‘fascism’ and ‘Nazism.’ These ideologies have left indelible stains of blood on Europe and the world. They bear no authentic connection to Christian theology, notwithstanding attempts by some to cloak their extreme ideologies in the guise of Christianity.”

Archbishop Elpidophoros and former mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris were made honorary members of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki, which today numbers only about 1,200.

Earlier in the day, His Eminence, city officials, and the ambassadors of Israel and the United States commemorated the Holocaust at Eleftherias (Freedom) Square. It was where the city’s Jews had been rounded up by German occupation troops in 1943 before being packed into trains and sent to concentration camps. The vast majority went to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and nearly 50,000 perished.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

 

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