Advice and jokes for pupils

The late archbishop’s interest in the younger generation was apparent from the moment he was elected. When pupils at a school he was visiting chanted «Christodoulos, we dig you,» he replied. «And I dig you.» In 2002, he told the editors of the pupils’ magazine Schooliki: «Children rightly rebel against their parents’ generation because our generation has done young people a great disservice with its hypocrisy. And since children are smart, they are disgusted with us and that’s why they react against the establishment.» His comments often caused surprise, such as when he likened globalization to a «meat grinder» and asked pupils if they wanted to become «mince that anyone could shape as they wished.» A few days after his election, at a senior high school in Ambelokipi, he reacted to some graffiti on the wall («Smash alarm clocks») by urging pupils to «wake up» and create a revolution of minds together. At the Sivitanideio technical college, his announcement, «the Church is in,» was met with applause. «Let’s reverse at top speed,» he added, «because we’re heading for disaster.» He announced the opening of a Church Internet cafe and invited young people to go as they were «even wearing earrings.» As he explained in an interview with a private school magazine: «We don’t care what youngsters wear to church; it’s their souls we’re interested in.» But he surprised some by the way he rebuked a pupil who had made a noise during his speech at a church school in Thessaloniki: «Why are you laughing, my boy? Are you a joker?» Christodoulos spoke out on sensitive issues, such as sexual relations, and one of his first actions as archbishop was to visit people with AIDS at an Athens hospital.