Archbishop blesses Parliament

Prime Minister Costas Simitis is blessed by a markedly cool Archbishop Christodoulos during yesterday’s opening of Parliament. Simitis made a point of greeting those among the senior bishops present who oppose the church leader, who has frequently launched personal attacks on the PM during his campaign for a referendum on the content of state identity cards. Christodoulos refrained from showering holy water on members of the Communist Party, who did not want to be blessed. In Moscow, Papandreou and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov reaffirmed the two countries’ willingness to cooperate in the fight against international terrorism, which, they said, was not a conflict with Islamic countries or beliefs. Greece and Russia also agreed on the need for their respective police and intelligence agencies to cooperate more closely and exchange information about possible terrorist activity in the Balkans.