The Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church at a special meeting on Friday opposed changes in the status of priests and decided to create a special Commission to examine the proposals of the Greek government to change the situation of the Church in the state, reports RIA Novosti.
The ruling party coalition of the radical left SYRIZA on 2 October submitted to Parliament a draft of constitutional amendments. The amendments enshrine the religious neutrality of the state, while maintaining “historical and practical reasons, the recognition of the Orthodox Church as the dominant religion.” Similar changes for the country in which 98% call themselves Orthodox, are revolutionary. The Church now has official status.
The Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Jerome on 6 November, discussed reform and signed a joint statement, which specifies the terms of the separation of Church and state in the framework of the constitutional reform. A significant part of the statement deals with the change in the remuneration of the clergy, which the priests receive as compensation for state acquired the Church property. The clergy will be excluded from the unified state on payments, and the Church will receive a subsidy for the salary of the existing priests.
An extraordinary meeting of the Synod was chaired by the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymus. He informed the bishops about the proposals of the Greek government on the question of Church property, followed by a discussion of this issue, which was said by many bishops, said the Commission.
The hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church unanimously decided to continue the dialogue with government on issues of common interest.
“To instruct the Permanent Holy Synod to form a special Commission that will consist of bishops, lawyers, experts and members of the clergy to explore issues of common interest. The results will be presented of the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church for final approval”, — stated in the decision.
“To insist on the current status of the remuneration of the clergy and laity serving the Church of Greece,” said the Synod.