Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece on Sunday spoke out against an initiative that would simplify the process of exempting students from attending religious studies classes, appearing clearly irate after statements on the issue by Alternate Education Minister Sia Anagnostopoulou.
“This does not come from the ministry but some lady that has certain ideas in her head,” the archbishop commented, while stressing that it was “a matter linked to the Constitution”.
“The Greek people must finally get serious and stop listening to the nonsense of one person or another,” he said.
Regarding his participation in a dialogue that is beginning on Church-related issues ahead of the next revision of the Constitution, Ieronymos stressed that the decision was primarily up to the Greek people:
“The Constitution decides what the course of this state will be and our Constitution states that our education must be national, Christian, Greek Orthodox education. We cannot have everyone saying whatever they like. If we want to change these things, then the Constitution must change. But the Constitution does not change one word, it will first go through our hearts and the hearts of Greeks. If they don’t want priests, high priests, if they don’t want religious studies, if they don’t want all this civilisation we have, our history etc. The Greeks must therefore decide and if they decide on changing the constitution, then we can talk about it again,” he said.
The archbishop is due to have his first meeting with the new Education Minister Nikos Filis on Tuesday.