Archbishop of Athens celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy without Greek president—first time in 160 years

Athens, March 26, 2024

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A long-standing tradition was broken yesterday, as the Archbishop of Athens celebrated the Sunday of Orthodoxy not in his metropolitan cathedral in the Greek capital, in the presence of the president and other high-ranking politicians, but in a nearby monastery, without any formal protocol.

According to Vima Orthodoxias, this is the first time the feast was celebrated without the presence of the president in 161 years.

The amended celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy was decided upon at a recent session of the Greek Holy Synod. Though the Synod did not explicitly state as much, this decision was widely understood as the Church’s response to the state’s legalization of gay marriage in mid-February.

In the end, only Vasilis Stigkas, founder and president of the right-wing Spartans political party, was present at Archbishop Ieronymos’ celebration of the feast at the Petraki Monastery of the Bodiless Powers.

The Creed is traditionally read by the Archbishop and Greek president together on this day, though this year it was read by the Archbishop alone.

Abp. Ieronymos and other hierarchs also did not attend the annual dinner held at the Presidential Palace.

At the same time, the President Katerina Sakellaropoulou was present in the Metropolitan cathedral yesterday for the doxology in honor of the feast of the Annunciation and the 1821 Greek revolution.

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