Bishop Chrysostomos warns of ‘ugly developments’ if gov’t imposes church-state deal


Bishop Chrysostomos of Messinia, an outspoken critic of a tentative deal between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos to loosen ties between the church and state has warned of "ugly developments," if the government takes unilateral action to impose the deal.

In comments to Skai television on Monday, Chrysostomos said all members of the church should rise to the occasion in the event of a unilateral government move, noting that most bishops oppose the prospect of clerics being removed from the state payroll, as the deal proposes.

The bishop, who walked out of a session of the Holy Synod discussing the deal on Friday, warned the government of "very ugly developments" in the church if Parliament legislates the proposed changes before dialogue proceeds between the church and the government.

He claimed that proposals to move clerics of the state payroll — and pay them from a state subsidy deposited in a church-run fund — has upset 73 of the Holy Synod's 82 bishops.

The bishop further accused the government of behaving in an "unacceptable" and "disdainful" way to the church and criticized Ieronymos for showing too much trust in Tsipras.