Dimou quits To Potami over Holy Fire quip

Author Nikos Dimou announced on Friday he was resigning as a member of To Potami, the centrist party led by journalist Stavros Theodorakis, after causing controversy with his public questioning of the belief that the Holy Fire brought from Jerusalem to Greece on Easter Saturday is the result of a miracle.

Dimou was the subject of intense criticism from a range of politicians on Wednesday, although Theodorakis did not join in with the attacks. Nevertheless, the writer said he felt he had to step down because of the negative publicity that his comments had attracted.

“I was just a simple member of the party but my name is well known and the media identified us as one and the same,” he said in a statement. “That is how the party and I wound up in trouble.”

Apart from doubting the Christian Orthodox belief that the Holy Fire appears in Christ’s tomb each Easter, Dimou also questioned the Greek state’s tradition of transporting the flame back to Athens on a special flight. Despite quitting To Potami, he said he would continue to support the party, which sits third in opinion polls ahead of the European Parliament elections on May 25.

“I will continue to back To Potami and Stavros Theodorakis,” he said. “I am sorry that without wanting to I damaged the party.”

The relations between Church and state also figured in a meeting between Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis and the head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, on Friday. “It is true that we have some differences with the mayor but there are many things on which we cooperate because we both want to serve people better,” said Ieronymos as the two men discussed the welfare work carried out by the Church and the municipality.