Tsipras: the religious neutrality of Greece will not destroy its age-old traditions

© AFP 2018 / Sakis MitrolidisАлексис Tsipras. Archival photoTsipras: the religious neutrality of Greece will not destroy its age-old traditions© AFP 2018 / Sakis Mitrolidis

Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras said that the changes in the Constitution providing for religious neutrality of the state and the separation of Church and state do not contradict the centuries-old traditions of the Greek people.

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, Alexis Tsipras, Archbishop Hieronymus and the members of the Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church at the meeting discussed the reform and signed a joint statement, which specifies the terms of the separation of Church and state in the framework of the constitutional reform.

«Declarative principle of religious neutrality of the Greek state provides the various roles of Church and state and, on the other hand, guarantee their cooperation on issues of mutual interest. And it is obvious that this principle is not included in any conflict with age-old traditions of our people. Have no reason jokes, I’d say tragicomic, some of them intentionally spread the last days of the alleged inevitable denial of the historical symbols of a cross with the Greek flag and our national symbols,» said Tsipras after a meeting with the bishops.

«The proclamation of religious neutrality in the Greek Constitution should emphasize that the Greek state is the guarantor of the religious freedom of the Greek people and the Greek citizens. This, and nothing, neither more nor less,» — said the Prime Minister.

According to him, the dialogue between the government, the Greek Church has always been Frank and constructive, it will continue. Tsipras called the agreement with the Church historical.

Archbishop Jerome said that the Church will become more efficient, will serve the will of the people. «The permanent Holy Synod has given us permission to agreement, and we will inform him tomorrow» — said the Primate.

Jerome also called myths stories about great riches of the Church.