Church clarifies ‘God’s wrath’ sermon

Many Greek Americans and Greek Canadians reacted angrily to statements by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and Greece implying that the terrorist attacks on the United States were in some way the manifestation of God’s wrath, the Athens News Agency reported from Montreal on Saturday. Greek-Americans were reportedly calling Greek-language news media and protesting. In a sermon in Athens on Friday, Christodoulos had said, Of course, the innocent victims of this tragedy were not to blame for anything. But the people in responsibility and power must consider that some day, they cannot act with license and without respect toward the justice of God and men. On Saturday, the press office of the Archbishopric issued an announcement saying that Christodoulos’s comments had been misconstrued and that an analysis of the teaching of St. Paul had been presented out of context.Excerpts were broadcast by radio and television in such a way as to leave the impression that the archbishop said that the terrorist attack on the United States was God’s wrath against the powerful of the earth, it said. Only people of ill will could claim that the archbishop’s sermon yesterday was allegedly in support of the terrorists and against the innocent victims who paid for this brutal and inhuman attack with their lives, it added. On Wednesday, Christodoulos and the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece had sent a message to President George W. Bush. At this time of unspeakable sorrow, our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of these incomprehensible, cruel and inhuman acts of violence and to their loved ones, it said. Opposition leader Costas Karamanlis, the leader of the conservative New Democracy party, stressed that America’s grief is our grief as well. He added: All Greeks are joining forces in condemning (terrorism) and the message has to be crystal clear: Terrorism cannot and will not have a place in the modern world. Former conservative PM Constantine Mitsotakis declared, We are all Americans and stressed that Greece owed its freedom to the United States. He also condemned what he described as foolish anti-Americanism being expressed by some guests on television shows. It is very foolish and damaging, he said.

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