Gov’t, clerics still at odds over priests’ salary status


The rift between Greek clerics and the government over a tentative plan to loosen close ties between the church and state seemed no closer to being resolved on Thursday as Education and Religious Affairs Minister Costas Gavroglou hit out at the Ecumenical Patriarchate for refusing to temper its stance on proposed changes to priests’ pay status. 

“I don’t understand the fixation of the delegation… with the issue of priests’ wages,” Gavroglou told News 24/7 radio station. 

Meanwhile the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, members of whom Gavroglou met with earlier this week, issued a statement, saying that the clerics had been given a document outlining the proposed changes, not the draft bill, as had been agreed. 

Gavroglou has defended a tentative deal reached last year between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos, to cease characterizing priests as civil servants, saying it offered security to clerics.