OPINION

Commentary

We have to find a way that will promote figures other than those who move backstage (…) so that various individuals will stop leading us by the nose. No, these words did not come from the lips of a political figure whose party is again plagued by navel-gazing. Rather, these were the words of a metropolitan, in referring to an issue that has created a warlike atmosphere inside the Church of Greece. The Athens archbishop has come under fire from the Chrysopigi religious organization, which claims that Christodoulos (who was a member of it) is no longer drawing strength from the organization but rather from behind-the-scenes power centers. Christodoulos condemned the way in which the three metropolitans attacked him and hinted that the attack is only motivated by the lust for power. During the rift, strong language has been used and bitter remarks exchanged concerning the moral fiber of several clerics, rousing the interest or merely exciting the curiosity of the public. The power struggle inside the ecclesiastical hierarchy is no surprise, of course. But developments in this holy war are of particular interest today, for they reveal that the progressive archbishop has failed to modernize the Church and, what is more,that he is himself at the center of an intrigue which has nothing to do with theological matters. These sad developments not only tarnish the image of the Church. They also taint the new image that Christodoulos is trying to convey to Greek society and particularly to its younger population as head of a Church which has left behind old and archaic conventions and is pursuing a new, lively relationship between the Church and its flock. Disclosures about backstage power struggles in the Church, generated by private antagonisms between ecclesiastical figures, indicate the chasm between what is displayed in the archbishop’s window and the actual picture behind it. The most unfortunate thing about these developments at the Church of Greece is the apparent willingness of the archbishop and his holy rivals, in attempting to safeguard their powers,to expose their high-status offices to even greater risks before their Christian flock.