Archbishop, education minister meet for the first time

The separation of the Church and state was not on the agenda of issues discussed on Wednesday by Education Minister Aristides Baltas and Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, during their first meeting.

Instead, the two men agreed to continue the operation of a joint committee made up of church and state officials to allow for the discussion of key issues.

“This was an extremely useful first meeting,” said Baltas. “The archbishop is a wise man willing to have a genuine dialogue.”

SYRIZA had been in favor of separating the Church from the state but the continuation of the joint committees, first set up in 2011, the retention of Giorgos Kalantzis as general secretary for religious affairs, and the decision not to tax the Church at this stage indicates the government will tread softly.