Bishops approve proposed reform

The scandal-ridden Church of Greece decided on Saturday to enlist Greece’s top judges in investigating future allegations of misconduct among senior churchmen, as bishops approved reforms meant to ease the Church out of one of the worst crises of recent years. The plenary session of the Hierarchy approved a series of measures proposed by Archbishop Christodoulos, including the formation of a council of judges, chaired by the head of the Church, that will look into charges concerning bishops and suggest action to the Church ruling body, the Holy Synod. Members of the council, which must be approved by the government, will include one deputy president each from the Supreme Court, the Council of State, the State Audit Council and the State Legal Council. Among other measures, bishops agreed to table annual asset and funds-source declarations, to seek state monitoring of Church finances, and to wear less ostentatious robes. The Church has been rocked by allegations that top clerics were involved in trial-fixing, corruption and sex scandals. This forced a pledge to cleanse the institution from Christodoulos, who presented his proposals on Friday. At the same time, the Church leader, who has also come under criticism for his links with a convicted drug dealer on the run from Interpol, easily weathered a surprise no-confidence vote.

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