Religion at Greek schools this year will no longer be taught on the basis of catechism, but on purely informative and educational grounds, Education Minister Nikos Filis said Thursday.
“It will not be a confessional or catechistic course, but a lesson in all religions, including the Orthodox,” he said, noting the multiculturism that is beginning to define Greece.
He said the decision was taken on a scientific and pedagogical basis, dismissing calls from the Church and others to desist from making any changes to the approach in the way religion is taught in schools.
“The program prepared by the Institute for Educational Policy was the result of a special committee that heard all sides, as well as the Church and theologians,” he added, noting that conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said last month that he was in agreement changes should be made to the religious curriculum at schools.
The aim, he said, is to familiarize students not just with their own religious traditions but those of others with whom they coexist in today’s multicultural society.
According to the ministry, the courses will focus on the major religions of the world, with an emphasis on the historic and cultural background informing them.
To this end, the Education Ministry said that teachers will undergo training as there are no plans, at the moment, to change school books.
The Church of Greece, whose senior members have repeatedly expressed their opposition to the change in approach, is expected to respond to the announcement on Monday, when its 12-member Synod convenes.