Government seeks to avoid conflict with church


The government is reportedly in search of a strategy to deal with the tensions with the church in the wake of the Holy Synod’s rejection of a tentative deal struck between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos on church-state relations.

Before the deal was rejected by the synod on Friday, Tsipras had already said that the state can afford to hire 10,000 people in the public sector, as the deal with Ieronymos stipulated that clerics would be removed from the state payroll.

However, the intense reaction to the deal by the clergy and its ultimate rejection has raised concerns within the government whether it can proceed unilaterally with the removal of clerics from the state payroll and risk raising tensions with the church ahead of national elections next year.

Meanwhile, New Democracy has vehemently denied that its leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis knew of the deal before it was made public and accused the government of being in a “panic.”