Thessaloniki bishop: Church-state deal will not get Holy Synod approval


Outspoken Thessaloniki Bishop Anthimos on Monday described a tentative agreement between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos "divisive" and said it would not be approved by the Holy Synod.

"That agreement cannot pass, such an act would be national suicide," Anthimos told Skai television, referring to a deal to move 10,000 priests off the state payroll (though the state will still pay their salaries) and to resolve a long-standing property dispute.

Referring to a joint press conference last week during which Tsipras and Ieronymos announced the tentative deal, Anthimos said, "they were wrong to give the impression that we agree and that the Church will be separated from the state."

He said he was "certain" that, during a session of the Holy Synod on Friday, most members would oppose the initiative.