Someone who refuses help to refugees and migrants is “neither Greek nor Christian,” Bishop of Dimitriados and Almyros, Ignatios, amid growing protests by local communities against their resettlement from the islands.
Speaking to Alpha FM, Ignatios said “I cannot accept anyone who refuses to help refugees and immigrants. For me, he is neither Greek nor Orthodox. Orthodoxy cares for any person regardless of their origin. This means Jesus. As long as we preach Jesus, this we’ll practice.”
He added that “refugees and migrants are Christ today. We teach this Christ … We will be held accountable, if we do not receive him. Only with this Christ, we can truly celebrate Resurrection at Easter. ”
“When I saw the opening of chapels in the islands for people to enter, it was the most sacred act. Even the natural image, the wood, wherever we find it, we will take it, clean it and put it in a good spot in our home. So is man. Of course it has pain, trouble. No matter how much the Greeks have begun us, now all eyes are on right now and they say that the Greeks are human beings, “Ignatios said.
To those voices claiming that that “Muslim refugees and migrants threaten Christianity”, Bishop Ignatios recalled that Greeks did not lose their Christian faith during the 400 years of the Ottoman occupation and will not lose it now.
We 400 years of slavery and we were not lost, will we lose now? And now we will endure
“I too am concerned, but in the name of anxiety you cannot leave a child hungry. We were not lost in 400 years of slavery, will we be lost now? And now we will endure. Europe is in danger of losing God,” he stressed.
He criticized the government for introducing again the teaching of Greek Orthodox religion in schools. “They are confronted with Islam and now they are running to add religious classes to teach children what God is and what a mosque is. If we go phobic, we will make the biggest mistakes. The Church gave everything when needed.”
Stressing that he has been teaching about the Islam in the Orthodox Theological School of Athens, Bishop Ignatios said “It is wrong to say that all Islam is jihadist and wants a ‘holy war.’ Of course, there are elements that anyone can paraphrase or take them for granted for political reasons, and turn Islam into a war machine.”
He stressed that “the Gospel of Christ did not prevent the Crusades. The misunderstanding brought blood. Everybody should read the Koran as a book of culture, we have nothing to lose.”
Asking “why does a European become a jihadist when he reads the Koran,” Ignatios said because “he has lost the meaning of life and through the Koran that makes things easier he thinks he can find a meaning in his life.”
“We, Greeks, have tradition, mysticism, we have the truth,” Bishop Ignatios concluded.
PS Bishop Ignatios seems to be the only shining light among the Greek clergy, when the overwhelming majority keeps silent to the rising movement against refugees and migrants and refrains from taking position on the issue.
On the antipode, some clergy does not hesitate to urge citizens to take up the arms against refugees and migrants resettled from the islands.