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Society

Athens Will Build, Manage Greece’s First Crematorium

October 20, 2017

AHENS – While cremation by private facilities is still against the law in Greece, with the Church firmly against burning instead of burying bodies, but Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said the city will build and co-manage a facility, the first in the country.

Currently, only a municipality can operate a crematorium as plans to allow private crematoria have run into ferocious opposition from the Orthodox Church. Cities and towns also have a near monopoly on operating cemeteries.

Greece is one of the few western countries where private cremation is unlawful, leading Greeks who prefer that practice for their deceased loved ones to have the bodies transported to Bulgaria.  Kaminis said the crematorium will be built in the post-industrial Eleonas district. In March, Parliament first gave the approval for a crematorium in 2006 but it can be used only by those whose religion also allows it.

That locks out all Greek Orthodox because the Church won’t allow it, ruling out that option for the faithful.

“On the part of the Athens municipality, and, as it seems, the government, there is the political will for the creation of a crematorium in the wider Athens area,” Deputy Mayor Nelli Papachela said at the time.

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