Opposition to tentative deal on Church and state grows


Bishops on Tuesday continued to express opposition to the tentative agreement between Archbishop Ieronymos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on relations between Church and state and the way priests will be paid, ahead of a crucial meeting of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on Friday.

Among other things, the agreement stipulates that some 9,000 clerics will be removed from the payroll of the state, which, however, will guarantee their wages.

But this has not gone down well with a large number of bishops who said it could compromise clerics’ labor rights.

“A bishop can do nothing if he doesn’t have his hands, which are the clerics,” said Bishop Chrysostomos of Messinia, adding that the Church has an obligation to safeguard the salaries of clerics, who are one of the “building blocks” of the Church.

For his part, Bishop Pavlos of Sisanion and Siatista decried the way the state is allegedly treating the Church. “Why should I trust the state? Has it ever been reliable?” he said.

Meanwhile, the Panhellenic Union of Theologians also expressed its opposition to the deal on Tuesday.