Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Holy Tuesday

While America is in the midst of its primary run off, the Greek Orthodox church here in Greece is electing a new Archbishop. And just like other political campaigns, allegations of scandal and impropriety abound. The bishop of Messinia is claiming that he is being blackmailed to vote in favour of the Bishop of Sparta - and unlike others - has gone to the police to make a signed declaration. Apparently he was photographed walking on the beach with a women!!! And to top it off, he wasn't wearing his cassock!!!! (a serious NO-NO in the eastern orthodox religion). The bishop of Sparta is also a member of the same religious sect the former Archbishop Hristodoulos was - Hrisi Pigi - Golden Spring. Not much is known about that sect except they indulge in politics and own a lot of land. Ask me its a bit fishy having an all male club with the word golden in it...

Meanwhile the front runner is the bishop of Thessaloniki Anthimos. Since the Archbishops illness he has been trying to grab headlines whenever he can. He has been excellent in creating fear against FYROM - which is recognised almost everywhere now as Macedonia (like it or not), and causing a furore against an up-dated primary school text book which was a major leap forward for Greek education. Most recently he used the funeral ceremony as his political election platform. He first mentioned the President of Greece and then the former King - completely disregarding protocol (after all why didnt he mention me or the famous basket baller Gallis if he was going to name random people) He mentioned the former King to show the priests where he stood on this issue - a return to the Monarchy.

Protocol exists so that mistakes are not made and no intentions are mis-understood. Thats why you follow it. And up until now priests have got it good. They get front row seats, they get invited to all the good gigs. Anthimos is no child - he knew exactly what he was doing and was completely re-affirming the close ties that religion has with the state. (this is actually a common phenomena in all eastern christian religions - but now is not the time for a religious history lesson). And that is why i hope he DOES become the next Archbishop. Thats exactly what the church needs - an unrepentant politician priest who will constantly fight the state for control - drive Greek education back into the stone age - elect politicians it approves.
Hopefully the people will get so sick of them that the Church will clean up its act and DO something humanitarian for a change, you know like clothing the poor instead of trying to rip them off.

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