OPINION

Enlightenment’s wake

Education Minister Marietta Giannakou is a liberal politician, a true child of the Enlightenment, with hardly any sympathy for religious men. She wants to be consistent with her liberal principles – she opposes exclusionary ideas and favors equal treatment for all education spheres. Her decision to elevate clerical schools into university institutions was prompted by the same liberal motif. Various objections have been raised but all critics agree that clerical schools should be excluded from higher education, which is already straining from the weight of too many fields and specialties. Skeptics would not object to the creation of Church-run vocational training courses or even private religious universities so long as the state university academia is kept free of clerical students and graduates who, it should be noted, will not be allowed access to state sector jobs. Some are annoyed by courses on Byzantine art or ecclesiastical music as if the Byzantine and Medieval European craftsmen were minor artists doing their rounds of various bienales. They don’t realize that these art forms were used to decorate churches – places that belong to the transcendent world. We are not saying that clerics should replace religious icon restorers or the Byzantine antiquities service but a priest should nevertheless grasp the importance of relics and priceless heritage common in churches. That is the only way to fend off the tide of aesthetic barbarism that has hit many of the newly built temples. According to the modernist worldview, the Church is an anomaly in the modern world. Its advocates are against upgrading the status of clerics because they threaten to spread the world with ideas contrary to the established order. Here’s a sign of totalitarianism and insecurity.