Hierarchs Conclude Meeting on Changes to Church-State Relations; Two Metropolitans Depart

November 16, 2018

ATHENS – The Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece concluded an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the proposed agreement between Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for changes to Church-State relations. Two of the 82 metropolitans making up the Synod, Messinia Metropolitan Chrysostomos and Kaisariani Metropolitan Daniel, walked out in protest during the six-hour session.

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos put forward three proposals in his speech to the Holy Synod of the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece, which convened on Friday to decide on the preliminary agreement that he made with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on changing relations between the State and the Church, according to exclusive Athens-Macedonian News Agency sources.

Ieronymos called for the approval of 15 points in the draft agreement and made a plea that the effort should not be under-appreciated. He also proposed the establishment of a legislation-drafting working group comprised of senior clergy with legal expertise, the legal office of the Holy Synod and clergymen that will work jointly with the State to draw up the draft law governing this new Church-State relationship. The draft law will then be submitted to the Holy Synod for approval.

Moreover, the Archbishop said that he will do whatever possible to safeguard the amount of the grant that the State will give to the Church to cover the salaries of the clergy and to include this in the revision of the Constitution.

Ieronymos also said that he has been looking into the issue of the Church’s property and assets for the last 30 years, and clarified that he has cooperated with all the previous prime ministers and presented the minutes of all the briefings to the Holy Synod.

“As head of the Church of Greece I have the obligation and duty to work for the achievement and success of these goals. There is no way for this vision to become reality without people that share it and wish to fight for its fulfillment. So, I warmly invite the Holy Clergy to stand by my side, adopt my concerns, reflect on the people’s expectations and share our common responsibilities. I promise to stand by you, to comfort your difficulties and troubles. I will do whatever possible to upgrade your ministry and secure you and your loved ones,” he said.

Closing his speech, Ieronymos underlined that “despite the sad feelings of the last days, this day is the start of a free Church”.


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