OPINION

Not that pious after all…

The Greek public can only watch dumbfounded as the country’s bishops humiliate themselves on television, tossing barbs at each other and trading accusations of forgery, blackmail, dissolute living, even drug trafficking. Allegations regarding the notorious Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis appear to have opened a Pandora’s box, with high priests suing and taking each other to court for alleged violations of criminal law. Needless to say, the churchmen’s behavior jars with their spiritual role and has caused serious damage to the image of the Church of Greece that they have pledged to serve at their own will. Certainly, one should not disregard the human weaknesses of our spiritual leaders nor the immense property of the Church. These in part explain the feuds over the different offices that confer responsibility for the management of this wealth, particularly when the churchmen’s ambitions for spiritual influence surpass acceptable limits. The allegations that have recently come to light exceed the parameters of the usual inter-church strife. One is shocked to see metropolitans parading on television windows, arguing that judges of all ranks are – either by means of their rulings or by deliberate negligence of duty – contributing to the blackmail or elimination of dissenting metropolitans. Allegations of this sort are highly provocative. «One can clearly see in the Yiossakis case a coordinated campaign to taint the image of the archbishop,» the Athens Archbishopric said in a statement yesterday. Even if that were true, even if the latest crisis is a product of the activity of certain «sinister forces,» it has nevertheless become blatantly evident that these sinister forces reside within the body of the Church, as it is the metropolitans who are throwing more oil in the fire. Regardless of any ulterior motives, it is imperative that the Church purge its body of the elements that smear its image. Action must be taken as soon as possible, either by the Church or by the State. For how much longer can we tolerate our holy affairs being dragged through the mud.