No a single priest, no a single icon. It has been the first time that cabinet ministers took an oath in the absolute absence of the Greek clergy. All the new ministers appointed after the mini government reshuffle on Wednesday had decided they would take a political “oath” and refrained from accepting the blessing of the Church.
Without the sermon, the oath ceremony lasted just ten minutes and had the President of the Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, saying “That was all!”
The absence of clergy is one more sign of the current frozen relations between the government and the Church of Greece.
Tension between the government and the Church show a new peak after the Ministry of Education and Religious issues decided to enhanced the role of the municipality to the management of Evangelistrias Foundation on the island of Tinos, thus downgrading the role of the local Metropolit.
Having lost the control of one of the most profit-bringing foundations in Greece, the Church of Greece and Archbishop of Athens, Ieronymos, expressed their deep dissatisfaction over the change.
A “casus belli” so to say with Minister Kostas Gavroglou to comment to a letter by Ieronymos “When we talk about democracy… democracy is for all and not just for some.”
Democracy in religious crises? One of the most hard-core Metropolits, Amvrosios of Kalavryta, urged the Greeks to demand closure of state ERT broadcaster for “showing disrespect” to Metropolit of Kythira, who sued the actors for the rock-opera Jesus Christ Superstar for blasphemy.
Kythira Metropolit complained that he was not allowed to unfold his whole reasoning about the rock-opera and the reasons for his lawsuit.
However, these are relatively minor problems when compared to the major one that poisons the relations between the government and the Church: religious lessons in the schools of the country.