Greeces Catholic and Orthodox Churches
31 May 2012 by Jonathan Luxmoore
OXFORD, England (CNS) — Greeces Catholic
Church accused a leader of the Orthodox Church of
intolerance and fanaticism after he sued a Catholic
archbishop for illegal proselytism.
I hope the court rejects his petition, which has no
legal or juridical basis, said Nikolaos Gasparakis,
spokesman for the Greek bishops conference. Its a pity
he doesnt say more about the plight of citizens during our
grave economic crisis, rather than just attacking
In April, Orthodox Metropolitan Seraphim of
Piraeus filed suit against Athens Archbishop Nikolaos
Foskolos, for allegedly violating the Greek constitution by
running a Catholic school in Piraeus. The metropolitan
cited Article 13 of Greeces constitution, which prohibits
In a May 24 interview with Catholic News
Service, Gasparakis said Metropolitan Seraphims actions
infringed canonical rules and contradicted the Gospel,
but added that he was concerned other Orthodox leaders
had not reacted to his actions.
In the 11 years since Pope John Paul II visited
our country, Greek society has become more tolerant and
less hostile toward Catholics, Gasparakis said. However, he said, that was not true of the Orthodox leaders.
In March, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I —
considered first among equals of the Orthodox patriarchs wrote the Orthodox archbishop of Athens about an
unjustified and dangerous sermon by Metropolitan Seraphim. In that early March sermon, the metropolitan invoked an anathema against Pope Benedict XVI as well as against Protestants, Jews, Muslims and ecumenists.
The 200,000-member Catholic Church has often
complained of discrimination in Greece, a European
Union and NATO member-state whose constitution
declares Orthodoxy the prevailing religion and prohibits Bible translations without Orthodox consent.
On May 7, the bishops conference said it would
take action in the European Court of Human Rights
against Greeces failure to provide equal rights and legal status for the Catholic Church.
The statement, published a day after inconclusive
May 6 elections worsened Greeces economic crisis, said the church would also protest the unacceptable and offensive aggression by Orthodox leaders.
Tags: Greece Catholic-Orthodox relations Greek Catholic Church