Tacit alliance between Orthodox Church leaders and the secular left-wing party
Sunday November 25, 2012
Church, SYRIZA seek understanding
Signs that crisis has led to improved relations between two sides
previously at odds
Tectonic shifts in the political landscape caused by Greece’s economic
meltdown have fomented a tacit alliance between Orthodox Church leaders
and the secular left-wing SYRIZA party, analysts say.
Poised to win the next parliamentary election, whenever that may take
place, SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras appears keen to build bridges with
the deeply conservative Church, which, controversially for some, remains
one of the most influential institutions in the debt-hit country.
In response to SYRIZA’s rise, analysts say, Archbishop Ieronymos wants
to establish a platform for discussion with the main opposition, like it
has with other parties.
Such rapprochement may come as a surprise considering the two sides’
differences on a series of key issues, including the separation of
Church and state – a perennial demand of the liberal faction of Greek
Tsipras is not married to his longtime partner and mother of his two
children, who have not been christened. But after the SYRIZA leader’s
father Pavlos Tsipras died last month, Ieronymos officiated at the funeral.
The two sides have recently found common ground in their social work and
criticism of Greece’s foreign creditors. Leftist officials have also
welcomed the clergy’s denigration of the neofascist Golden Dawn party.
“We are very lucky that Ieronymos is archbishop at this difficult
moment,” Nikos Pappas, a senior SYRIZA figure, told Kathimerini.
Orthodoxy is recognized by the Greek Constitution as the country’s
official religion. Surveys suggest about 80 percent of Greeks believe in
God. This makes them among Europe’s strongest Christians, although many
are infrequent churchgoers.
ekathimerini.com , Saturday November 24, 2012 (18:11)