Greece is not racist, says irked archbishop

Archbishop Christodoulos, head of the Church of Greece, yesterday labeled as «unfair» a US State Department report, released last week, which highlighted certain anti-Semitic acts that took place in Greece between July 2003 and December 2004. «Greeks are not racists. On the contrary, we not only open our hearts but also our homes to the persecuted,» said Christodoulos. The archbishop said the Greek Church had helped Jews obtain false identification papers so they could disguise themselves as Christians during the Nazi occupation. Christodoulos said the State Department report had focused on the tradition in some parts of Greece of burning an effigy of Judas during Easter – sometimes referred to as the «burning of the Jew.» He argued this practice referred to the image of «Judas the traitor» and not Jews in general.

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