Holy Synod to convene amid pique over church-state deal

Holy Synod to convene amid pique over church-state deal

Amid lingering skepticism within the ranks of the Church of Greece over a tentative agreement struck last week between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos to move 10,000 clerics off the state payroll and recognize the “religious neutrality” of the state, the Holy Synod is preparing for an emergency meeting on the subject on Friday.

The agreement was the focus of talks in Istanbul on Saturday between Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios and Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou. After their meeting, the patriarch made no comments while the minister promised to “pass on” the patriarch’s concerns and said the goal was “dialogue.”

A day earlier Vartholomaios visited Greece’s Consul General in Istanbul Georgia Soultanopoulou to complain that the Patriarchate was not briefed about the deal. Several Greek churches including those on Crete and the Dodecanese islands fall under the jurisdiction of the Istanbul-based Patriarchate.

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