Greek Orthodox associations oppose new digital IDs

Greece, August 18, 2023

Romfea Romfea     

Two dozen Orthodox missionary and academic associations have signed a text protesting the government’s plan to introduce digital IDs starting in September.

The text, published by Romfea, notes that the present stance comes after “about 40 years of constant popular disapproval and the rejection of similar government efforts.

“As faithful members of the Church, we remain committed to the synodal decisions of the Church of Greece (1993, 2626/1997, 2641/1998) and to the legacy of the contemporary venerable and holy Elders who advised us not to receive any such identity, with which, as we explain below, we surely surrender our God-given freedom to the digital state,” the associations write.

The text recalls that on November 17, 2010, the Greek Holy Synod stated that “the Church is obliged to protect the freedom of the person and to defend the integrity of the faith. Therefore: a) the Citizen’s Card must not contain in any way, visible or invisible, the number 666 b) it must also in no way violate personal liberties.”

However, the introduction of electronic-digital IDs and various government-issued apps “lay the foundation for 24-horu citizen monitoring,” the Christian associations warn. With data collected by the entire population, data miners “will be able to detect, predict, and of course, even control the behaviors of the general population.”

The text continues:

For us, a) the issue of the absolute infringement of individual and social freedoms, b) the issue of national security and the most important c) the issue of faith are clearly raised: the numbering of the person and the infringement of the God-given freedom of man who is the image of God—with clear eschatological dimensions—incompatible with the Christian faith.

The associations thus call on the government to respect religious sensitivities and cancel its plans to introduce digital IDs.

“Skepticism towards electronic IDs is not retrograde. It is proof that Greek citizens, and especially Orthodox Christians, are vigilant for our faith, our homeland, and our democracy.”

In conclusion, the associations call on the Greek people not to rush to accept the new IDs.

Last week, OrthoChristian reported on the statement of His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira about the new IDs. The hierarch said:

If in their final form they bear the number of the beast from the Book of Revelation (666) and electronic tracking, then let every Christian seriously contemplate and freely express their position in the face of their responsibilities.

Holy and discerning Athonite Fathers were cautious and negative about it as long as these electronic IDs have the aforementioned elements. A recent poll showed that a Christian gathering in Northern Greece also had a negative attitude about it, with 87% opposing their implementation. Let the authorities take this into consideration and take appropriate measures if they truly want to protect their citizenry.

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