Church denies party ambitions

A senior churchman’s proposal yesterday for the Church of Greece, currently at loggerheads with most political parties, to nudge its youthful followers into politics sparked a rift among senior clerics, prompting the Church to deny it nurtures plans for a «Christian Democrat» party. The Church’s ruling body, the Holy Synod, issued a statement playing down the proposal by Anthimos, Bishop of Alexandroupolis, a close ally of Archbishop Christodoulos. Anthimos is also the Holy Synod spokesman. «The erroneous impression was conveyed and the rumor was spread that the Church of Greece proposes to create a Christian Democrat party and thus influence politics,» the Synod statement said. «Nothing can be further from the truth.» At yesterday’s Synod meeting, Anthimos advocated encouraging «young people who have a substantial relationship with the Church» into politics. «Without politicians who respect Orthodox traditions and the evangelical faith… Greeks will become socially and nationally divided,» he said. On Tuesday, the Synod rejected calls for changes in the Church dress code.