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Hellenic Insider

Tsipras plans to separate Greek Church from state

“The Church has always been, is, and will be the mother of the Greek people,” the head of the Greek Church affirms in response.




It is being reported by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras intends to begin the process of officially separating the Greek Orthodox Church from the Greek state and revising the relevant article of the Greek constitution, reports

At least 90 percent of the Greek population belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church, which is accorded the status of “prevailing religion” by the state constitution. Salaries and pensions for Church clergy are covered by the Greek state at rates comparable to teachers.

Tsipras, no stranger to controversy and animosity with the venerable Church, and his advisers are of course aware that such an initiative is likely to bring strong negative reactions from the Church’s bishops, clergy, and faithful, but he believes he will be able to manage the situation, just as he did with the Macedonia situation!

The move is not likely to get the general population’s approval either.

According to a 2016 ProRata survey, 46 percent of the Greek public wants the government to stay tied to the Greek Orthodox Church and 38% wants to keep the existing status where they are aligned unofficially. 42 percent said that the state should continue to take care of priests’ salaries and pensions, although 40 percent responded otherwise, the poll showed, as reported by the National Herald.

Nevertheless, it is reported that Tsipras will present his plan for revising the constitution and separating the Church and state within the next month, ahead of the proposal expected from SYRIZA in October.

The revision of the constitution and the agreement reached between Greece and Macedonia to change the latter’s name are the two main points of contention between the leftist SYRIZA and the center-right New Democracy party in the run-up to the European Parliament elections next spring, and the expected early elections for the Greek Parliament, which may occur much earlier than the scheduled date of next autumn.

It is believed that Tsipras is merely trying to score political points here against his rival, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who opposes the separation of the Church from the state.

The initiative will be presented as “progressive,” which Tsipras hopes will draw the support of the centrist Movement for Change (“Kinima Allagis“) party.

Furthermore, Tsipras, an atheist, is not worried about a confrontation with the Church. He is fairly regularly called out for his damaging, liberal politics by the fiery hierarchs of the ancient Greek Orthodox Church.

In late 2016, Metropolitan Ambrose of Kalavryta wrote an open letter to Tsipras, condemning him for comparing the 1821 Greek Revolution with the 1959 Cuban Revolution, which he called a national crime and shame, simultaneously criticizing the extravagance of the Prime Minister’s “unnecessary” trip to Cuba for Fidel Castro’s funeral, as reports.

The same metropolitan slammed him not long after for his “goal of destroying the Greek Orthodox Church,” as evidenced by government policies such as legalized same-sex unions. He also calls him out for shameful behavior at Orthodox services.

In September 2017, the monks of Mt. Athos, a semi-autonomous monastic republic in Greece and the spiritual center of the Orthodox Church behind Jerusalem, protested Tsipras’ planned visit, calling him an “antichrist.”

However, Tsipras reasons that the government has formed an operational relationship with Church leadership, as evidenced by the adoption of the deal concerning the naming of Macedonia.

SYRIZA’s own project on the separation of Church and state was published about a year ago. he project provides:

  1. That Church and state discretion are fully established with full respect for the Orthodox Church and its historical role;
  2. The explicit fixing of the religious neutrality of the state, recognizing Orthodoxy as an historical religion;
  3. The obligation to guarantee a single political oath for president, prime minister, legislators, judges, and other public officials.

The primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens, also spoke out against plans to separate the Church and state in 2016, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.

The archbishop stated at a meeting of the hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church that such a decision cannot be made by any one political party, but rather by the parliament as a whole: “Any amendment to the constitution is the prerogative of the Parliament, so the Church will not conduct a dialogue with the government, but with the Parliamentary Commission which will include representatives of all the parties the people voted for.”

Moreover, he affirmed that the Church will not make such an initiative, and will never separate itself from its beloved children: “The Church cannot on its own initiative ask for separation from its people, as is now being sought. The Church has always been, is, and will be the mother of the Greek people.”

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Interesting the first foreign trip the atheist Greek PM makes post inauguration is to the Vatican to meet the pope. Could it be a sign of political/religious unification that dominates Europe…the world?


Greek Opposition Leader Mitsotakis Coming To Moscow For High Level Talks





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Archons of Greek Orthodox Church issue toothless letter about abortion law

The good news is the Archons did say some good things in reaction to the New York abortion law. But there was no consequence.

Seraphim Hanisch



In relation to our previously published piece about Governor Andrew Cuomo signing abortion into the New York State Constitution, we noted that at the time of the article’s writing, no entities within the Orthodox Church in any jurisdiction issued any kind of statement condemning this law. Of all fourteen universally acknowledged Local Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church was particularly of note, since their Archons awarded a humanitarian award known as the Athenogoras Award to extremely liberal, pro-abortion politicians, Andrew Cuomo being one of these.

Well, the Archons did issue a statement yesterday:

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Condemns New York’s New Abortion Law

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, strongly condemns the State of New York’s new Reproductive Health Act that was passed on January 22, 2019. This new law allows abortions up to the moment of birth and gives people who are not doctors the right to perform abortions.

The Order also deplores the celebratory atmosphere surrounding the new law, as One World Trade Center was lit pink to commemorate the passage of the law, as if it represented a great advance for the rights of women. The rights of no human being are ever advanced at the expense of another. The State of New York will not truly have respect for the rights of women until it once again restores legal protections for every human being, from his or her first moment of existence until natural death.

Hailed as progress, New York’s Reproductive Health Act is not actually an advance, but a regression, a return to a time of barbarism when the weak were at the mercy of the strong and had no protection from legal structures or governing authorities.

The Order implores New York’s legislators to reconsider this dangerous new law and reinstitute protections for all human life, no matter how weak and vulnerable. Only when such protections exist can any society truly prosper.

Rev. Alexander Karloutsos
Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Is this enough?

It does not seem to be so. Governor Cuomo and his award, along with pro-abortion Roman Catholic Vice President Joe Biden, also received this award at the same time Governor Cuomo did.

What did not happen in this letter was that neither politician was named, nor were the four (out of five) Greek Orthodox politicians in the New York State Assembly that voted FOR this law.

Neither did the Archons move to rescind the Athenagoras Awards they gave to Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Biden. This move appears to be still far too politically calculated, and keeping with the tragic, curious and distressing behavior of the leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate. is a popular blog site whose editor, George Michalopulos, is undoubtedly one of the giants among those Greek Orthodox who seriously uphold at the notion that the Church ought never compromise herself. Yet, he was very happy with the letter that is shown above because for him it represented a “180-degree turnabout” in terms of the history of the Archons’ behavior, which he noted elsewhere as smacking of “the feeling that their primary job is to raise money for Istanbul.”

He neglected to mention the lack of mention of the Awards, but perhaps understandably, his surprise at any sort of traditional statement by this group was leading to exuberance where perhaps it is not deserved.

The Greek Orthodox Church seems to have an overall alignment with very liberal figures, and it is unclear as to why. But this tendency of people that are considered good and faithful Greek Orthodox churchgoers to align with liberal politics in the United States is very different than the sharply conservative tendencies of Russian Orthodox churchgoers, or Greeks or Romanians in the US.

The other rather liberal church is the US is the Orthodox Church in America, but this group does tend to involve itself in social causes in the US – especially abortion – in a very conservative, if rather feeble, manner. They do make their presence known at the annual March for Life and this is of great value.

We wish to name all the Greek Orthodox elected New York assembly members here, with their votes regarding the state abortion measure:

Michael Gianaris             (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Andrew Gounardes         (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Nicole Malliotakis           (R)                            – No. (and she is a woman!!)
Aravella Simotas             (D)                            – Yes.
James Skoufis                  (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.

This measure enshrined abortion at any point in a woman’s pregnancy as a constitutional right. The law stipulates several following procedures are now “rights:”

  • The law allows non-physicians to perform abortions.
  • The law allows abortion through the third trimester.
  • and the law repeals protections for babies that survive abortions (this means that if the baby gets delivered alive, it will still be killed.)

This is a barbaric law, and a resounding victory for people aligned with some very dark ideas about life and death. It is a tragedy, and while the Archons’ letter condemning it is at least a token statement, it really wants a full-throated response from the Christian world.

In fact, even Muslims and religious Jewish people ought to be outraged as well. All the Abrahamic religions understand that only God is the author of life. In this viewpoint, people do not themselves create life. We only cooperate with God to bring it into existence, by his blessing.

But we can cause death, and this power is influenced by forces that are not interested in God, traditional values, family, children or anything of the sort.

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Greek MPs pass Prespes deal with 153 votes in 300-seat House

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year.

The Duran



Via Ekathimerini

Greece’s parliament on Friday ratified a landmark accord that changes the name of neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), ending a decades-old dispute and opening the way for the ex-Yugoslav republic to join the European Union and NATO.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who hammered out the deal with his FYROM counterpart last year, secured the parliamentary majority needed to get the accord approved with support from independent and opposition lawmakers.

“Today we are writing a new page for the Balkans. The hatred of nationalism and conflict is giving way to friendship, peace, and cooperation,” Tsipras wrote on his social media account.

FYROM has already ratified the deal, brokered last year, and its prime minister promptly sent a tweet hailing the Greek parliament’s vote.

The settlement seeks to end a 28-year old row between Athens and Skopje over the use of the term “Macedonia” by renaming the tiny Balkan state “Republic of North Macedonia” to differentiate it from Greece’s northern province of Macedonia.

Greece’s European Union allies welcomed the ratification.

“They had imagination, they took the risk, they were ready to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted. “Mission impossible accomplished.”

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year. A general election is due by October, and his party is trailing the opposition New Democracy by up to 12 points.

The debate in the Greek parliament was heated, with voting almost interrupted on Friday when an MP for the right-wing Golden Dawn Party, asked to cast his vote, responded: “No to treason!”

Several MPs in favour of of the accord reported attempts to intimidate them.

Many Greeks fear the agreement could lead to territorial claims against Greece and say it constitutes an appropriation of their country’s ancient cultural heritage. Macedonia was the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Protests against the deal have at times turned violent this week, and on Thursday evening police fired teargas to disperse crowds outside parliament. Smaller groups of people braved heavy rain on Friday to demonstrate outside the parliament.

New Democracy slammed the agreement.

“This deal should never have been signed or brought to parliament for ratification,” party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament. “It is a national defeat … a national blunder that is an affont to the truth and history of our country.”

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