The mundane and the spiritual

In the role of the book critic and grand inquisitor who is absolutely sure that he possesses the one and only truth, the Holy Synod condemned former prime minister Costas Simitis’s book to eternal hellfire as inaccurate and anti-clerical. Whether the decision was reached through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit or simply under the guidance of an archbishop who recently introduced the dogma of Schadenfreude is easy to tell. Asked if he agreed with the Christian remarks mouthed by Bishop of Kalavryta, Amvrosios against the ex-premier (calling him «diminutive in size and spirit»), Christodoulos showed that with the lack of convincing arguments even the most articulate orator has to use some good-old pharisaism. «I have no truck with worldly affairs,» Christodoulos said Sunday, a day before he urged the Holy Synod to actually deal with worldly stuff by denouncing Simitis’s book. Hence demanding land for the construction of a hotel in the center of Athens or for a conference center in Kareas is actually a spiritual cause. And awarding clerical schools university status (responsibility and funding come under the control of the Holy Synod) is not dealing with worldly affairs but a prelude of spiritual ecstasy. And the separation of Church and State is also a spiritual question, not some earthy and material affair. The archbishop «has no truck with worldly affairs,» we are told. That is why he never interfered in politics, has never presented God as a nationalist or the one on his right as pro-New Democracy; he never agreed to take subsidies in euros for the Church NGO, never got involved in the country’s foreign policy, and never tried to influence the school curriculum. Christodoulos never divided the people, religious or not, by usurping the Aghia Lavra banner. And he’d never allow the mundane TV cameras to enter a church to capture his blessedness.

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