GR US

Court Says Greek Schools Not Obliged to Teach Religious Conscience

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS - Greece's highest administrative court said that schools can't be required to develop “a student's religious conscience,” backing plans by the Education Ministry to remove that phrase from the core curriculum. That was initially done by the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, which moved late in its 4 ½ year reign to try to separate Church and State, removal of the phrase done by then education chief Costas Gavroglou.

The Council of State rejected an appeal for its annulment by the Church of Greece, the Metropolis of Piraeus and Piraeus’ Metropolitan bishop Seraphim, as well as religious groups who want only the Greek Orthodox religion taught in schools.

The court, however, said the education ministry's purpose was "the development and upgrade of education for the ethical, spiritual and physical training of Greeks, the development of a national conscience, the protection of the freedom of religious conscience and worship, and the development of free, active and critically thinking citizens, etc., without the explicit mention of developing a religious conscience,” reported Kathimerini.

Just as career training or citizenship training is not mentioned explicitly does not mean that education violates the constitution or no longer cares for them, the court said. The decision was overseen by the court's head, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, before she was elected President of Greece in January.