Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Jerome of Athens and All Greece, called for universal vaccination and compliance with protective measures against the spread of coronavirus.
A joint press release of the Greek Church Synod and the Prime Minister’s press service has been published, following the participation of Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the Synod meeting on Monday chaired by Archbishop Jerome. The message says:
“In a wonderful atmosphere of cooperation, the historic visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took place, accompanied by Minister of Education and Religions Niki Kerameos and Government Spokesman Yiannis Ikonomou.”
During the visit of the Prime Minister, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek revolution, the Archbishop of Athens presented the head of the government with a commemorative medal of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. The press release states:
“The Prime Minister and His Beatitude agreed that special attention and perseverance is needed in the overall efforts to vaccinate the population universally, especially in areas with low vaccination coverage. The importance of conscientious observance of measures of prevention and protection against coronavirus was also recognized. , as part of their different roles and responsibilities, face not only the pandemic, but also those who use it as a tool, fueling tensions between the state and the church. “
The Primate of the Church of Greece expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Religions for successful cooperation in solving chronic problems, especially focusing on the “big reform” of church education. The main ones are the use of church property to support charitable activities and contribute to national efforts to restore the economy, as well as the updating of the 1945 legislation regarding the clergy.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke about the changes undertaken by the current government on the problems of the Greek Church, which have remained unresolved for many years, and thanked the synod for supporting the fight against the pandemic. The message says:
“He reaffirmed his intention to start a dialogue on the above issues, with a focus on social cohesion, financial discipline and transparency.”
Archbishop Jerome in his speech asked to change the terms of payment for priests:
“There is a need to modernize Law 536/1945, which provided for the state’s contribution to the payment of 6 thousand places for priests, based on the country’s population at that time, which was estimated at about 7.5 million people. This number was even then less than the number of priests who served – 7151 people, and for 76 years did not change.In connection with the constant growth of population and the construction of housing in the state, new parishes were created, as a result of which the above limits were exceeded.Today, the church of Greece has 8168 parishes, and each parish has at least one or several posts of clergy, depending on the population, otherwise a legal entity is not created. Consequently, for many years the legislation of 1945 ceased to correspond not only to the number of appointed paid clergymen, but also to the number of legal entities. “
Archbishop Jerome urged the Prime Minister to solve this problem.