Archbishop of Athens, Ieronymos shocked many Greeks who thought that he was a progressive spiritual leader and he was making a difference by distancing himself from the hardliners, the xenophobic and homophobic members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Athens.
In an interview to private Skai TV late on Tuesday, Ieronymos first of all verbally attacked Education & Religion Minister Nikos Filis with whom he is in conflict about teaching Religion in the schools.
The Archbishop described Filis as a “problematic person” and “inconsistent in his actions and words” adding as such “one cannot expect this relationship to bear any fruit.”
“[Filis] says one thing in the evening and another thing in the morning,” Ieronymos said, adding that the minister has not been sincere with the Church as far as his future plans regarding the place of the Church and religion within society.
Ieronymos warned that the Church will not be content to just look on as the government attempts to push through changes, while at the same time he praised Defense Minister, conservative Independent Greeks chairman and government junior coalition partner, Panos Kammenos.
He revealed that Kammenos was “almost in tears” when he told him he would bring down the government if Ieronymos would ask him to do so.
The Archbishop of Athens took under his protection all the extremist voices among the priesthood” like Bishop Amvrosios.
“We cannot silence anyone expressing his views. In private discussion we make recommendations but we cannot isolate them,” Ieronymos said adding “Amvrosios’ point of views are not wrong, it is the way of expressing them.”
The Bishop of Kalavryta, Amvrosios, had described the right-extremists of Golden Dawn as “sweet hope” and had wished that “Filis’ hand should rotten.”
The Archbishop of Athens also admitted that the Greek Church distanced itself from the refugees saying “We are a little away because because we do not want that our own people who suffer whisper Look, you help them and not us who are hungry.”
Ieronymos referred to some “centers that want to deprive the country from Greek values a place and commented that “the existence of Muslims is not the best” for Greece. […] It is not the risk of Islamization, It is an attempt of tampering by these .centers.”
“The Muslim is not assimilated by the Greek, by the Orthodoxy, he cannot. Orthodoxy and Muslim… Islam is not a religion, to start with.”
He predicted that the government would continue to exist for a few more months and the Orthodox Christians should be patient.
About the separation of church and the State he said that he cannot let 10,000 families of priests go hungry.
Someone commented on Twitter that there are only 7,000 doctors employed at the Greek public hospitals, much fewer than there are priests….
PS I thought Christianity was preaching Love and had overcome signs of obscurantism.