The Greeks Respond

Source: BBC News

The Greek Orthodox Church is urging Christians across Europe to unite in an appeal against a ban on crucifixes in classrooms in Italy.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled last week that the presence of crucifixes violated a child’s right to freedom of religion.

Greece’s Orthodox Church fears the Italian case will set a precedent.

It has called an emergency Holy Synod meeting for next week to devise an action plan.

Although the Greek Orthodox Church has been at odds with Roman Catholicism for 1,000 years, the judicial threat to Christian symbols has acted as a unifying force.

The European Court of Human Rights found that the compulsory display of crucifixes violated parents’ rights to educate their children as they saw fit and restricted the right of children to believe or not to believe.

‘Worthy symbols’

The head of the Greek Church, Archbishop Ieronymos, shares Catholic complaints that the court is ignoring the role of Christianity in forming Europe’s identity.

It is not only minorities that have rights but majorities as well, said the archbishop.

One of his subordinates, Bishop Nicholas from central Greece, lamented that at this rate youngsters will not have any worthy symbols at all to inspire and protect them.

Football and pop idols are very poor substitutes, he said.

The Greek Church has ostensibly intervened in this case in response to an appeal by a Greek mother whose son is studying in Italy.

But without doubt it is concerned that its omnipotence in Greece is under threat.

A human rights group called Helsinki Monitor is seeking to use the Italian case as a precedent.

It has demanded that Greek courts remove icons of Jesus Christ from above the judge’s bench and that the gospel no longer be used for swearing oaths in the witness box.

Helsinki Monitor is urging trade unions to challenge the presence of religious symbols in Greek schools.

The socialist government here is also considering imposing new taxes on the Church’s vast fortune, but at the same time is urging it to do more to help immigrants and poor Greeks.


7 thoughts on “The Greeks Respond

  1. The European Court of Human Rights was wrong in its decision last week that the presence of crucifixes in classrooms in Italy violates a child’s right to freedom of religion. There is no denial of freedom of religion to any child by the presence of these crucifixes. These crucifixes to not prevent a child from worshiping in the religion of his choice. So how can the court rule that they violate a child’s right to freedom of religion? The answer: it can’t.

  2. I am reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and the image of Serbia, anxious to enter the EU, came to mind. Particularly in the scene in which John, the “Savage”, who is outside of the so-called civilized world and yearning to see it and live in that promised land says, “O brave new world that has such people in it. Let’s start at once.”

    To which his guide, staring at him both perplexed and astonished says, “You have a most peculiar way of talking sometimes. And, anyhow, hadn’t you better wait till you actually see the new world?”

  3. Politics is a subject that I engage in, and often lose my peace over – my Spiritual Father (who knows my weakness) tells me that, for now, in the USA anyway, we still have the right to worship freely, pray, love, forgive and assemble together to worship the Living God. When these rights are removed by the State (end eventually they will be) – we will continue our life in Christ anyway – seeking Truth & glorifying God even unto death.
    Familiarity breeds contempt – as the old saying goes – if the Cross has become ubiquitous, just another part of the landscape – who really sees it?
    The child who sees the Cross in his own home, witnesses his parents love and veneration of it and of Christ’s sacrifice upon it, that child is blessed. That child will understand – not those raised by the world.
    Let them take everything away from us! What the world does will not matter if we continue to be Orthodox and be salt & light in the world.

  4. What can be said? The Greeks voluntarily joined the satanic EU – the same political structure that Serbia now wants to join. But at what cost? What has a man gained if he gained the whole world and lost his soul? You can say the same thing about a culture or a people. They think these kinds of things won’t happen to them so they sell out for the illusion of material gain. The leaders at the top don’t even care, as they’re bought off and then try to justify their betrayl of their people. Pitiful indeed. Now atheists and the heterodox will decide for the Orthodox what is allowed in countries with overwhelming Orthodox majorities. How surrealistic is that? It’s like being in a Salvador Dali painting.

    At the end of the day, the old saying “when you go to bed with dogs, you wake up with fleas” seems very true in this case.

    Lord have mercy.

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