School religion lessons to stay compulsory


Religious affairs lessons in Greek schools are to remain compulsory, the Church of Greece and the government have agreed, despite a proposal by the country’s education policy institute, known by its acronym IEP, that those lessons be optional.

Addressing members of the Holy Synod on Tuesday, Archbishop Ieronymos said the Church’s proposals had been accepted by Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou. “He told me personally, ‘If something problematic arises, we are ready to tackle it together,’” the archbishop said of the minister.

A proposal by IEP in January for religious affairs lessons to become optional stoked anger in the ranks of the Church. But the agreement between Ieronymos and the government suggests that IEP’s point of view has been overlooked.

In his speech to clerics, Ieronymos referred to a “joint decision,” noting that the course material will be subject to the scrutiny of the Church. Gavroglou did not confirm this on Tuesday. But his predecessor, Nikos Filis, who had consistently clashed with the Church on the issue, indicated otherwise in comments to Kathimerini, saying that the new curriculum “will be implemented with insignificant changes.”