Kammenos suggests will block changes to religious classes

TAGS: Education, Religion, Politics

Coalition partner Panos Kammenos has suggested he will block plans by the education ministry to change the character of religious classes in schools – a source of friction between the SYRIZA-led government and the Greek Church.

During a meeting with Archbishop Ieronymos on Wednesday, the leader of the nationalist Independent Greeks party said that any changes to the syllabus will have to be approved by church authorities. The two sides agreed on fresh talks on the issue between representatives from the two sides.

“I assure you that the prime minister [Alexis Tsipras] by no means wants to severe ties between Orthodox faith and our nation,” said Kammenos.

Kammenos, who is also defense minister, also condemned as “unacceptable” recent comments by Education Minister Nikos Filis that questioned the role of the Church during the 1967-74 military dictatorship.

Speaking in Parliament Wednesday, Tsipras defended plans to scrap the catechistic character of religious classes, teaching them instead on purely informative and educational grounds.

“Pupils need to perceive religiosity as a facet of social reality,” Tsipras told lawmakers.