Church, SYRIZA MP clash over use of saint’s relic

The Church of Greece and SYRIZA’s parliamentary group representative, Nikos Filis, clashed on Monday after the latter complained about the use of a relic of Saint Barbara, one of the most venerated saints in the Orthodox Church, which was brought to Greece over the weekend.

Filis complained that the relic was taken to Aghios Savvas Hospital in Athens in a gesture aimed at blessing the institution and its patients.

“It is wrong to send the message that medicine can be replaced,” said the SYRIZA MP. “It gives the wrong message to patients because it is a form of populism that distances them from science.”

Archbishop Ieronymos’s spokesman Haris Konidaris accused Filis of engaging in a “supposed left-wing anti-clericalism” and called on him to follow the example of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who “has total respect for Greeks’ religious feelings.”

Saint Barbara is said to have lived in 3rd-century Nicomedia, present-day Turkey.

In the Orthodox Church, she is also known as the Great Martyr Barbara.

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