Opinion polls on Church election
Opinion polls on Church election
Opinions polls focusing on the election of a new archbishop for
the Greek Orthodox Church were published by newspapers on Sunday. One
of these was a nationwide phone survey conducted by the firm MRB and
published in Eleftheros Typos that focused on the public's
expectations from the new archbishop while the second, conducted by
RASS and published in the newspaper 'Paron', also measured the
popularity of possible candidates for the archdiocese throne.
The profile built up by the MRB poll indicated that the majority
of the public want a spiritual leader that will follow in the
footsteps of the late Christodoulos, who was buried on Thursday, and
actively intervened in issues concerning society. The poll was
conducted over the phone on January 30-31 using a sample of 1004 people.
Of those asked, 76.1 percent said they desired the new
archbishop to "continue in the direction of the late Archbishop
Christodoulos" and a majority expressed a desire for the new
archbishop to take an active role in a variety of matters affecting
society, such as: social convergence (88.7 percent); drugs (88.6
percent); health (82 percent); education (77.4 percent), the
environment (76.7 percent); unemployment (72.8 percent); economic
migrants (70.3 percent); crime (70.2 percent) and transparency and
corruption (60 percent).
Less than half, or 43.2 percent, desired or thought it
permissible for the new archbishop to actively intervene or express
his opinion on matters of foreign policy.
Some 58 percent expressed a desire for the new archbishop to be
"do more charitable work" and 38 percent asked that he approach
people, especially those that were less religious. Another 35.1
percent said he should "preserve the unity of the Church", 29.4
percent said that he should improve relations with the Ecumenical
Patriarchate and 22.9 percent that he should "renew the Church".
According to MRB's poll, the Church as an institution continues
to enjoy high levels of acceptance among the public with 65.1 percent
in favour, ranking second only to that of the President of the
Republic (88.9 percent). Ranked third as institutions are the Army
and the Armed Forces (64.9 percent). Parliament and the political
parties, by contrast, have levels of acceptance of 29.4 percent and
15 percent, respectively.
Another 70.4 percent believe the Church has moved in the right
direction over the last 10 years and 79.9 percent does not desire any
government involvement in the election of the new head of the
Orthodox Church of Greece.
RASS poll results
The findings of the RASS poll echo those of MRB, with the
majority of those asked seeking a spiritual leader that will actively
intervene in social and political issues. This nationwide survey was
also carried out over the phone on January 30-31 amid a sample of 600.
An active role for the archbishop in political and social issues
was supported by 61.1 percent of those asked, while 22 percent said
the new archbishop should have no involvement at all in political
issues. Another 13.3 percent said the new Archbishop should "move
behind the scenes" in order to affect developments.
Of those asked, 37.4 percent said the new archbishop should dare
to clash with political powers and 30.4 percent said that he should
have an opinion but not clash with political forces. A further 31.1
percent wants him to restrict himself exclusively to his ecclesiastical duties.
Support for a new Archbishop "that believes in promoting a
living and fighting Church" was given by 85 percent, while 82.2
percent said he should have good relations with the Ecumenical
Patriarchate and 61.1 percent said that he should recognise Fanar's
The bishop's most favoured to take over from Christodoulos were,
in order of popularity:
Thessaloniki Metropolitan Anthimos (24.4 percent), Dimitriada
Metropolitan Ignatios (15.3 percent), Sparta Metropolitan Eustathios
(11.6 percent), Syros Metropolitan Dorotheos (4.9 percent), Thiva
Metropolitan Ieronymos (4.8 percent), Mesogaia Metropolitan Nikolaos
(1.9 percent) and Xanthi Metropolitan Panteleimon (1.7 percent).
Another 32.9 percent of those asked did not reply to the above
question while 69.9 percent said they were very and fairly interested
in the election of the new archbishop.