‘Easter is Christian, not pagan’

Archbishop Christodoulos, in a sermon in Athens yesterday, attacked the leader of a small left-wing party for saying on Easter Sunday that the Greeks were celebrating «creativity» and «spring.» The archbishop, who has worked to keep the church in a central role in Greece since his election four years ago, did not name Nikos Constantopoulos, leader of the Left Coalition (Synaspismos), but his comments were clearly aimed at him. «No,» he declared. «We are not celebrating any creativity nor any spring. That is what idolaters say, those who do not believe. We are celebrating Christ’s rising from the dead. The words ‘Christ is risen’ are the only ones that capture the meaning of this festival,» the archbishop added. «Christ’s resurrection is not a celebration of nature, nor a spring festival. Period.» Christodoulos repeated his charge that Greeks were becoming alienated from their faith, but he also expressed the conviction that the majority of them remained true to the Church. Christodoulos has sought to emphasize Greeks’ Christian roots to the detriment of their pagan, Classical past.