Church rejoices over ‘change’

A beaming Archbishop Christodoulos visited the prime minister’s residence on Wednesday for the first time since his bitter quarrel with the previous government in May 2000, over its decision to remove the religious creed slot from state identity cards. According to both the archbishop and government officials, Christodoulos and Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis did not discuss the Church of Greece’s demand for the religious belief slot to be restored to the ID cards all Greeks are required by law to carry on them at all times. «The matter will be examined when the time is fitting,» Christodoulos said. However, he made little effort to disguise his delight at the change of government. «Things change, thank God,» were among the first words he addressed to Karamanlis. «I feel that a new leaf is being turned in the relations between Church and State,» he told journalists afterward. While in opposition, New Democracy had backed Christodoulos’s argument that the listing of religious belief on ID cards should be optional.

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