Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis assured Archbishop Ieronymos on Tuesday that his government will not push through with changes in the Articles 3 and 13 of the Constitution, which determine relations between the Church and the State.
“I look forward to a very substantial cooperation with you. There are many issues that we need to address, but always in good faith and by respecting the constitutional requirements of Articles 3 and 13 of the Constitution, for which, as I have already informed you, there will be no changes in the constitutional revision,” he told the Archbishop in brief comments in front of the cameras at Maximos Mansion.
Furthermore, plans concerning religion education classes and contested assets will go back to the drawing board.
The previous leftist government of Alexis Tsipras initiated a procedure in 2018 to amend the Constitution, aiming, among others, to loosen church-state ties.
In November 2018, Tsipras reached a tentative agreement with Ieronymos to move some 10,000 clerics off state payrolls, although their wages will still be paid as a state subsidy.
The plan also foresaw the joint development of disputed real estate assets and the establishment of a “religion neutral” state.
The move was rejected by the Holy Synod which insisted that priests retain their status as civil servants.
The previous Parliament also approved in late February the revision of Article 3 – which would abolish the reference to the Holy Trinity in the constitution’s preamble and that of a “prevalent religion” – with 151 votes in the 300-seat House.
Article 13 refers to the safeguarding of the political oath.
But the actual revisions will need to be approved by the current Parliament to apply.