Gennimata concerned about church unity amid debate


Movement for Change leader Fofi Gennimata on Wednesday warned that an ongoing debate over the separation of church and state could jeopardize unity within the clergy, accusing ruling SYRIZA and opposition New Democracy of putting “petty party interests” first.

In a meeting with the Church of Greece’s Archbishop Ieronymos, Gennimata also recommended the formation of a parliamentary committee to discuss the issue, which arose earlier this month following a tentative agreement between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Ieronymos that would see clerics being removed from the state payroll, the joint development of disputed assets and the emergence of a “religion-neutral” state.

Meanwhile, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou on Wednesday expressed optimism that the two sides can come to an understanding over the proposals.

Gavroglou met with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios in Istanbul on Tuesday, describing the talks as “very fertile.”