September 27, 2015
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Ieronymos has spoken out against the recent statement of Deputy Education Minister Sia Anagnostopoulou concerning religious classes in Greek public schools, according to GreekReporter.com.
Anagnostopoulou stated that students should not be obligated to take religious classes and she announced a simplification of the procedure for opting-out of such classes.
As it stands, a student must sign an official school document declaring their religion or conversely declaring themselves an atheist in order to be released from religious studies classes. The Deputy Minister has vowed to change this, stating that a signed letter from a parent should suffice.
Asked to respond, the archbishop noted that such a change requires more consideration, reminding that education is to be national and following the Greek Orthodox religion according to the Greek constitution.
He noted that the idea to simplify the process was not a decision of the government but rather just the thoughts of “some lady,” and he called upon the Greek people to adopt a more serious attitude to their lives and education: “Greeks need to get more serious and stop listening to this nonsense.”
Anagnostopoulou declared the government’s respect for the Greek Orthodox Church and religion but argued that the freedom of religion must be respected in the nation’s schools.
For his part, referring to the seriousness of education, Archbishop Ieronymos stated, “If Greeks decide they do not want priests, bishops, religious studies and this culture, then we will discuss the matter.”