Church of Greece and government continuing talks towards clergy payroll changes
The Greek Orthodox Church in Greece and the government will continue their talks over a series of proposals that include the transfer of the clergy’s payroll from the state to the Church itself, both Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, and Education, Research and Religion Minister Kostas Gavroglou said after meeting on Friday.
Both men insisted that the rights and status of priests would not change, and said talks would continue over proposals agreed to between Ieronymos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on November 6. They said they would meet again in December with a committee.
“The payroll, pensions and health insurance of the clergy will be established in an absolute and transparent and explicit way. There will be no change in the labor and wage status of priests,” Gavroglou said. He added that the government would await the final decision of the permanent Holy Synod on the proposals before proceeding to the last stage of a draft bill based on the Nov. 6 agreement points.
Gavroglou also said he would be meeting with representatives of the Church of Crete on Sunday, and stressed he was open to meeting with any metropolitan who requested so.
Explaining the committee, Archbishop Ieronymos said “it will deal with all issues in all directions. (…) It will include priests and technocrats and high-level clergy. What we end up with will not be ours to finalize, but will need to be approved by the Church hierarchy again.”
He said that the agreement proposals “are a great issue, and an opening towards the future of the Church in general.”