Minister and Patriarchate disagree on mooted changes

Minister and Patriarchate disagree on mooted changes

Talks between Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou and members of a delegation from the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate on Wednesday served to highlight the different stances of each side vis-a-vis a tentative plan to loosen close ties between the Greek state and the Orthodox Church.

A spokesman for the Patriarchate, Elder Metropolitan Dimitrios of Princes Islands, objected to proposed changes to Article 3 of the Constitution that would abolish the reference to the dogma of the Holy Trinity in the preamble and the reference to a “prevalent religion.”

The Patriarchate also objects to a revision that would refer to a “religiously neutral” state, the metropolitan said.

He also rejected proposed changes to the payment status of clerics in the Dodecanese islands and Crete that fall under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate.

Gavroglou, for his part, defended the plan to cease characterizing priests as civil servants, saying it offered security to clerics.

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