Archbishop says Santa is cause for concern

Launching a barrage of criticism aimed at modern Christmas traditions, the head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos, yesterday lambasted parents and child experts for encouraging children to believe in Santa Claus. «Many people, in effect, do not celebrate the birth of Christ but the arrival of presents and the decorating of the tree, to which they also pray and attribute divine and magical powers,» said Christodoulos, speaking at a Christian education conference. The archbishop also said he regretted that the image of the «fat, rosy-cheeked and far from ascetic» Santa Claus had usurped Aghios Vassilis (St. Basil), the Orthodox saint traditionally associated with Christmas. Christodoulos attacked «specialists» for «advising that we have to tell our children lies and idolatry tales that… Santa Claus is a real person who brings them presents.»

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