Greece has determined the terms of the separation of Church and state

© RIA Novosti / Gennady Melnikovskaya temple in Greece. Archival photoGreece has determined the terms of the separation of Church and state© RIA Novosti / Gennady Melnik

The Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras and Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Hieronymus agreed on terms of separation of Church and state in the framework of the constitutional reform. The Greek government admits that it paid for prior Church property low and compensation is the salaries of the priests will pay the Church a subsidy.

«Joint statement by the State Church of Greece» was received by RIA Novosti from the press service of the Prime Minister. It contains 15 items and the preamble.

The ruling party coalition of the radical left SYRIZA on 2 October submitted to Parliament a draft of constitutional amendments that propose to «upgrade» article 3, and to secure the religious neutrality of the state, while maintaining «historical and practical reasons, the recognition of the Orthodox Church as the dominant religion.» Similar changes for the country in which 98% call themselves Orthodox, are revolutionary.

On Tuesday, Tsipras met with Archbishop Hieronymus and the members of the Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church and discussed reform.

«After a long, comprehensive and Frank dialogue between the state and the Church, a dialogue which took place in an atmosphere of respect and understanding, we now have the opportunity to move to an agreed and mutually acceptable and mutually beneficial initiatives related to streamlining our relations,» — said in a joint statement.

«Our goal is to define the scope of the settlement and resolution of historical uncertainty, and strengthen the autonomy of the Greek Church against the Greek state, recognizing its contribution and its historical role in the birth and formation», — explained in the statement of the state and the Church.

They noted the intention to reach «an historic agreement» which will take the form of legislative regulation.

The application offers 15 points.

First, the Greek state recognizes that until 1939, when he published «internally» Law 1731/1939, received the Church property for a fee, the lesser its value.

«The government of Greece recognizes that assumed the payment of salaries to the clergy, in a broad sense, as compensation for the acquisition of Church property», the statement reads.

The state and the Church recognize that the clergy will not be considered state employees and therefore will be excluded from the unified state on payments.

In this case the Greek state is obliged to pay annually to the Church a subsidy, the amount of which corresponds to the current wage of active priests and will be adjusted in accordance with changes in wages in the Greek state.

The Church recognized that after this agreement will waive any other requirements over a specified Church property.

The annual subsidy will be paid into a special Fund of the Church and intended solely for the salaries of the clergy. The agreement provides the current number of seats of the clergy and Ministers of the Church of Greece. Possible increase in the number of priests will not result in a requirement to increase the annual subsidy, the statement said.

The Greek state and the Church have agreed about creation of Fund use of Church property. The obligations of the Fund will be shared equally by the state and the Church.

«The foregoing obligations both parties will act, subject to the agreement as a whole», — said in a statement.

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