With the new Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras taking the civil oath of office instead of the religious one, changes are coming in Greece. He is openly atheist, has a civil union with his partner of 20 years and has not baptised his two children. I don’t believe this is an issue for the vast majority of Greeks but some in the church and some older, more traditional citizens are up in arms.
Now a senior member of the church has spoken out supporting the replacement of the religious oath with the civil one in politics, the civil service and in the courts.
Bravo, Metropolitan Anthimos of Alexandroupolis in northern Greece for standing up and joining the 21st century. Next stop… a crematorium and a mosque (Athens being the only European capital with neither)? Let’s hope so….
Abolition of the religious oath in courts and inaugurations of elected officials, and its replacement by a civil oath, is proposed by Metropolitan Anthimos of Alexandroupolis in northern Greece.
A day after new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras refused to take a religious oath and took a political oath instead, the Alexandroupolis Metropolitan spoke to the Press about his proposal.
“I feel guilty when I force state deputies, governors and mayors to swear to the Holy Bible,” Anthimos said. He also stressed that the religious oath is a very important matter for those who believe in God and a great parody to those who don’t.
Referring to the origin of the religious oath, Anthimos explained that after Greece was liberated from the Ottoman occupation, the newly built Greek state needed to find a way to turn the uneducated rebels to citizens. The religious oath was “borrowed” from the Greek Church to add importance to official procedures. The swearing-in ceremony was established for state officials and public sector employees. Also, the religious oath was put in use in courts. Although the Bible prohibits the use of the oath, the Greek Church deemed it necessary for the establishment of the new Greek state.
The Metropolitan of Alexandroupolis suggested the replacement of the religious oath by a civil oath. “We should swear to our honor and our conscience; we either have them or we don’t,” he said.
“Many people believe that the religious oath should be abolished. People in swearing-in ceremonies surely perjure most of the time… For us Christians, the invocation of the Holy Trinity is very serious business,” he said.
“In courts, people put their hand on the Holy Bible with such ease of conscience. The oath is a terrible thing for those who believe. For those who do not believe is a travesty. What worries me is the sin that burdens the one who swears.”
Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavyta and Aigialeias decries Alexis Tsipras for refusing religious oath
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Ambrosios of Kalavryta and Aigialeias decried the new Greek PM’s choice.
“Greece used to be a Christian state and now its Christian identity is eliminated,” Ambrosios wrote in his personal blog.
The Metropolitan also added, “Greeks voted Mr. Alexis Tsipras for Prime Minister of Greece, ie a public official, who a) lives with a “companion,” as they say in mass media, and not a wife, i.e. with a woman he is not married to in church, b) has not baptized his children in a Christian baptism ceremony and c) as Prime Minister, with great arrogance, refuses to take a religious oath! It is the first time this is happening in the history of Greece!”