Tuesday , October 3 2023
Home / FEATURED / Priest in Athens suspended for placing Girls as “Altar Servers”

Priest in Athens suspended for placing Girls as “Altar Servers”

A Greek Orthodox priest in Athens was suspended and banned from practicing sacraments because he had two girls to serve in the altar in his church. A move that caused outrage in conservative circles.

It was the very first time that a priest of the Archdiocese of Athens placed two girls in the “service” of the Church, where the centuries-long tradition dictates that the alter service in only for boys.

The “scandalous” event unfolded in Agios Nikolaos Ragavas in Plaka and the priest, who was put on holiday, is Protopresbyter Alexandros Karyotoglou, newspaper tovima.gr, reported.

The cleric’s decision caused an outrage among conservative circles who complained about the priest.

He was summoned to the Church authorities who informed him that he cannot officiate during the Divine Liturgy nor does he have the right to celebrate Sacraments (Weddings, Baptisms, Confessions, etc.) .) until the 12-member Holy Synod discusses the issue and decides.

The Holy Synod is expected to meet next week and no one seems to know if Archbishop Ieronymos will put the matter up for discussion and what his proposal will be.

However, members of the Holy Synod reportedly pointed out that “the aim of the decision is to instruct the cleric as there was no consultation with the staff of the Archdiocese.”

They added that “the priest did not receive any letter but “he had a conversation with the Archbishop and the archdeacon. None of us decides alone.”

On the other hand, theologians emphasize that such arguments are prefaces…

  • Since 1982 the “papadakia”, the altar boys,  in the Patriarchate of Antioch – Athens arehostage to the fundamentalists
  • Girls – “papadakia” have been an “institution” since the beginning of the 80s. Everything started from the parish of Agios Dimitrios in Cologne, the initiative of the priest was accompanied by a relevant decision of the then Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius.
  • Since then, dozens of girls – priestesses in Europe, but also in Damascus, seat of the Patriarchate of Antioch, which was recently visited by Archbishop Ieronymos himself, are a common occurrence.

“The outrage and denial of conservatives is hypocritical. Many women have been serving at the Holy Altar for a long time: monasteries, institutions, camps and even parishes” Protopriest Vasilios Thermos told tovima.gr.

He added that in the meantime “most bishops do not care about the essence. The reason why they don’t want girls in the altar is because of the war by those stick in the past.. Our Church has been held hostage by the fundamentalists, Any punishment of Fr. Alexander will deeply scandalize people with quality and serious thinking, serious reflection. We are already getting a taste of the reactions. Unfortunately, many of our bishops are unaware that this portion of people exists. Thus, when it comes to deciding, they prefer their quietness and sacrifice serious seekers. Extremists make a fuss out of all proportion to their numbers. If the moderates bombarded the Synod with demands for change, then our Bishops would be surprised. We love our Synod and we don’t want its prestige to be shaken.”

It is recalled that last month, the Archbishop of America, Elpidoforos, decided to proceed with girls in the church altar with the blessing of ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios.

The two girls

The two 14-year-old girls who wore the stichario and held the candle during the Divine Liturgy are among the children who attend church every Sunday.

They are triplets and they also have a brother while their parents are close to the Church and no one expected this kind of reaction…

*thumbnail: archive

Check Also

Dozens of people remain trapped in their village demolished by storm

350 residents in Drakeia village on Mt Pilion remain trapped and without access to the …

One comment

  1. If the Greek Orthodox Church doesn’t change certain practices regarding women they will , as an institution , be resigned to history. Women will not be ignored or confined to certain roles because of a misogynistic priesthood.