Missing crosses are cleared up

Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras has written to Archbishop Christodoulos to explain why the images of two monasteries used as backgrounds on four pages of the new Greek passports to do not display the holy cross. Sources said yesterday that Polydoras explained that the pictures were not meant to offend Orthodox Christians. He said the image of one of the Byzantine monasteries, Simonos Petras on Mount Athos, was based on a 19th-century painting which did not show the monastery to have the image of the cross on its exterior. The minister also explained that the other image, of Aghia Sofia in Mystras, was based on recent photographs of the monastery, which does not display any holy crosses on its exterior. Christodoulos led a campaign against the PASOK government in 2000 over new ID cards which do not list people’s religion.