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Athens prosecutor investigates whether public official insulted religious symbols

The office of prosecutor in Athens ordered a preliminary investigation against a high ranking public official, following complaints that she allegedly threw an icon of the Virgin Mary in the garbage bin and thus “on the eves of August 15th,” – as media report –  the day Greek Orthodox celebrate the Feast of Dormition of Virgin Mary. Insulting religious symbols would send the public official to jail for up to 2 years.

Employees at the National Organization for the Certification of Vocational Orientation (EOPPEP) complained that the CEO of the organization, Eleni Gianakkopoulou, ‘threw an icon of Virgin Mary in the trash bin’ and ordered them to remove religious symbols from their offices and desks as well as the crosses they were wearing on their necks.

The prosecutor will investigate whether Giannakopoulou ‘committed offenses insulting to religion and other possible offenses’ that can be punished with up to 2 years imprisonment.

In letters to higher level officials, EOPPEP employees wrote about the alleged incident and adding shocking details about the anti-Christian behavior of the CEO. “Will this thing you wear on the neck save you?” Giannakopoulou allegedly told an employee as she was grabbing the little golden cross with her hand. Employees said further that the CEO ordered them to remove the icon of the Virgin Mary and other small icons they had on their office desk.

According to the employees, the CEO reacts negative to the existence of religious symbols in their  offices while they stress they have every right to carry religious symbols and also decorate their public offices with them “as long as they do not hinder their work.”.

Administratively, EOPPEP belongs to the Ministry of Education and Religion.

CEO Giannakopoulou denies the allegations saying that she is ‘being targeted,” because she pushes for reforms within the organization including the transfer of employees to other posts within the EOPPEP.

At least one of the employees were ordered to internal trasnfer from 2nd floor to ground floor and was assigned with another task.

The incident took place on August 10th, it became public on August 28th and a day later the vice spokesman of the Parliament Dimitris Kammenos from Tsipras’ junior coalition partner, nationalist-conservative Independent Greeks wondered why the prosecutor had not intervene to such an insult towards religion. Kammenos had also asked ‘why the anti-racist laws was not activated.’

And here we go on August 30th, the prosecutor is getting together personnel and resources to find out whether the complaints were true or not.

looking pretty much like an atheist bulling devoted Greek Oorthodoxs

Eleni Giannakopoulou was appointed to this CEO position by SYRIZA and is also a member of SYRIZA. Shock! Majority of SYRIZA members, incl the Prime Minister, are reportedly atheists. Double Shock!

PS speechless. or as we say in Greek “δεν υπάρχει!” – it doesn’t exist! – when we want to describe something as being pretty much unbelievable.

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  1. The idiott must have missed the day in school when they taught that Greece is a theocracy.

  2. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    is Greece really so backward that it is a criminal offence to “insult” Christian Orthodox icons? Other developed countries not only abandoned this nonsense a long time ago, but most actually forbid the display of Christian symbols in public offices as a visible discrimination against non-Christians.

  3. Since when do symbols have feelings and thoughts?
    How can they be “insulted”?
    Is this a translation issue? Like the word “philotimo” (which can’t be directly translated into other languages. Beautiful concept b.t.w philotimo)?

  4. Follow up question.
    How much would a preliminary investigation cost the taxpayers of Greece?
    Isn’t this “wasting public funds” on a non-issue?

  5. If this allegation is true she should get the maximum penalty according to the law.