Symi, Greece, November 2, 2017
Greek hierarchs are continuing their protest against the new religious education textbooks being introduced into the Greek school system. Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Symi of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has termed the new books “illegal and unconstitutional,” reports AgionOros.
According to the bishop, the government’s decision is “a manifestation of injustice to the Orthodox Greeks.” The new textbooks aim to eradicate the Orthodox identity and to turn religion into a syncretistic discipline, which leads to the “formation of an anti-religious consciousness.”
Beginning in third grade, school students will be told about the religious beliefs of Christians, Muslims, and Jews, without even clearly explaining what religion is. Moreover, in contrast to Orthodoxy, other world religions are presented in an ennobled and idealized sense.
The metropolitan stressed that the new religious studies program is designed exclusively for Orthodox Greeks. Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim students will receive confessionally-oriented education.
According to the bishop, “This is nothing other than a manifestation of discrimination against Orthodox Greeks.”
Met. Chrysostomos also urged parents to join the Pan-Hellenic protest and to refuse the new textbooks and to return them to the Ministry of Education.
Hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church have been consistently speaking out against the religious reforms, both before and after their official adoption. Metropolitan Theologos of Serres, in an interview with Greek television, noted that “the Education Minister is constantly attacking the Church without cause. For our part, we do not hold a grudge against him, but at the same time we cannot be silent when historical truth is being deliberately distorted.”
Speaking before the passing of the reforms, Metropolitan Georgios of Livadeia demanded that the government stop the one-sided imposition of the new school curriculum without taking into account the position of the Orthodox Church.
In the view of Metropolitan Makarios of Siderokastron, the school reform and changes in teaching Religious Studies are aimed at “the de-Christianization of society. This is a catastrophe and suicide for Greeks.”
Metropolitan Prokopios of Neapolis characterized the current education reform as “a dangerous and useless experiment which is capable of putting an end to the Greek educational tradition and religious identity. The Church cannot remain indifferent and unconcerned about anti-Orthodox experiments like these.”
Metropolitan Amvrosios of Kalavrita stressed that “Greece, Orthodoxy and the Church of Greece are being persecuted!” The metropolitan called for stopping these reforms which are disastrous for Greece.