NEWS

Church nemesis ‘a traitor’

In an emotional Athens sermon yesterday, the leader of the Church of Greece denounced as a «traitor to the nation» the head of a privacy watchdog whose decisions prompted a bitter clash between Church and State two years ago on the content of state ID cards. In a voice frequently trembling on the verge of tears, Archbishop Christodoulos said Constantine Dafermos, chairman of the Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (APPD), was sapping away the nation’s foundations. «Every now and then, he pulls out a great stone block upon which this nation is founded,» Christodoulos said, as a congregation in Athens Cathedral booed at the mention of Dafermos. «The building erected by our fathers will fall and crush you.» But he added that «no Dafermos, no traitor to the nation» would succeed. In 2000, the APPD ruled that religious faith should no longer be mentioned on state ID cards, prompting an unsuccessful Church bid for a referendum. This month, the government chose to ignore an APPD ruling that would make it easier for schoolchildren to skip religious education classes.