Heavily edited on 08.10.2012
Today we have the latest chapter in the rekindling of religious censorship in Greece, after the incident with Elder Pastitsios. You may remember this piece of news. It happened a couple of months ago, in June, when several actors that took part in the “Corpus Christi” play were arrested on charges of blasphemy. Well, there have been developments.
According to TVXS.gr yesterday (04.10.2012) the accused appeared before a court to defend the play, since the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece didn’t think their remorseful press release was enough and finally filed for a restraining order on the grouds of blaspheming against Christ and demanding the play be cancelled.
In the evening of the same day (around 5 p.m. EET) a crowd led by monks (possibly Old Calendarists; a rather fundamentalist greek-orthodox sect) gathered outside the theatre. Some reports speak of 50 people, others of 100. There they picketed the entrance with signs and greek flags, sang the national anthem and hymns and yelled various slogans, effectively trapping the actors that were rehearsing the play inside.
Some report that among other things they yelled that their leader was “Jesus of Nazareth and not the lawless Jew”; given the typical racist overtones of such gatherings, I’m inclined to believe it. For instance, one of the images in the article shows an old man holding a sign that reads: “DISGRACEFUL! The Zionist antichrists want to ridicule Christ and bring forth the Antichrist”. Reportedly there were also some members of the “Golden Dawn” party among those present.
Since I wasn’t there, I cannot vouch for any of the information, (edit 08.10.2012: especially about the presence of Golden Dawn members. I did not manage to spot any of them in any of the videos I watched. If there were any, they hadn’t been wearing they usual black t-shirts).
Other than the photos on the linked articles, there is also a video segment showing part of the demonstration, with a monk stating that he finds incredible that any Christian would come to the defense of such blasphemers (video by Newsbeast.gr)
I located another video from the demonstration, quite long, spanning 45 minutes (from the reported 5+ hours the demonstration lasted). This is from a source friendly to the protesters and characterizes the demonstration as a statement of faith. The above video must be right after this one.
Interesting moments include:
|02’00”||A priest accuses the play of hubris against God. He says that God doesn’t need them to defend him, but they want to declare their faith peacefully.|
|04’30”||A man (later revealed to have come from Thessaloniki for the demonstration) speaks at length about how he considers this blasphemy illegal according to the laws and the Constitution; and immoral to boot. He also speaks against those ridiculing Elder Paisios and other ascetics.|
|08’30”||A man states that the Jews are enemies of the Christ and the Greeks and that this play is an example of an international jewish conspiracy to defame Jesus. He further believes that all Greeks (he apparently considers only Christians as Greek) should react against this and “…all arrows prepared by the zionist monster of jewish Talmudists against Christ and Greece…”|
|09’34”||He also sends a message to the Prime Minister (calling him a traitor, member of the Bilderberg Group and agent of the Jews for not stopping the play) and all members of the Parliament, saying that the wrath of God is upon all of them. He also believes that the Church should excommunicate all of them and the journalists that aid them (who pretend to be Christians, but are really agents of Freemasonry). It should also be noted that his choice of words at certain points reveal him to be an Old Calendarist.|
|15’10”||A man with a megaphone informs the crowd that there will be a play on the 11th, though he says that the information could be misleading, since they are the Sons of Lies and Darkness. He raves against the government and the courts for not supporting them and calls them hostages of Zionism and Freemasonry; hence inherently untrustworthy. Then asks the crowd to be vigilant, so they can quickly organize in case the play opens on another date.|
|18’11”||National Anthem; the obfuscation of religion and state is prevalent throughout the video, as is the belief that any criticism and ridicule of Christianity is against the Constitution.|
|19’30”||A man proclaims that he has come from Macedonia [≠FYROM] to be bring the message of the National Resistance of Greeks for the Motherland, Orthodoxy and Freedom. There is also an attack against the mayor of Thessaloniki, who (according to the speaker) does not honour the hollies, won’t celebrate the 100 years of the liberation of the city and wants to place a statue of Kemal Ataturk in a central location. The crowd boos profusely.|
|23’00”||Slogans: “Greece means Orthodoxy” and “Greece belongs to the Greeks”. Some protesters attempt to force the police line and are repelled. Some monks intervene to calm things down.|
|25’30”||A man claims that several actors had to be replaced because of health issues (no idea if this is true). Predictably he thinks this divine punishment.|
|30’30”||A woman believes that World War III has began and starts talking about the recent conflict between Turkey and Syria. For this she blames Freemason-Jews. She also fears that, since Greece is in NATO, we might have to offer military support to Turkey. She links this all to our moral decay of the government and the people and raves against homosexuality, the ridicule of the hollies etc, which are, of course, machinations of Satan. (This goes on for a good 15 minutes, if you’ve got the stomach for it).|
End of Edit
The entrance was guarded by a SWAT team squadron and the director of the play (Laertis Vasileiou) was convinced that were they absent, the mob would have broken in and invaded the theatre. Vasileiou, in a radio interview given over the phone from inside the besieged theatre (you can listen to it here) also claims that he was personally attacked with slogans such as: “Laertis, you fucking Albanian, this place will become your grave” and had being specifically targeted for days on nationalistic blogs.
Later (but not before 10 p.m. according to Vasileiou) the crowd dispersed, but promised to return next Thursday, reportedly with more members of “Golden Dawn” (edit: this is probably unreliable) with the intent to invade the theatre (when the play starts).
Given the latest developments with Elder Pastitsios it’s doubtful that that even the hellenic justice system has any will to defend Freedom of Speech from archaic blasphemy laws and the demands for gagging of the nationalistic and fundamentalist crowds. I’m very curious to see how the court will rule on the demands of the Synod (Edit 08.10.2012: I am relieved to learn that the restraining order was rejected by the Court).
● Ακροδεξιοί και παραθρησκευτικοί απέκλεισαν το θέατρο «Χυτήριο»
● Παραθρησκευτικοί και Χρυσαυγίτες διαδήλωσαν έξω από το «Χυτήριο»
● Ο Λ. Βασιλείου στο Κόκκινο 105,5, 4/10/2012
● Διαμαρτυρία στο Θέατρο Χυτήριο για το Corpus Christi
● 4\10\12 CORPUS CHRISTI – θέατρο Χυτήριο ΟΜΟΛΟΓΙΑΚΗ ΣΥΓΚΕΝΤΡΩΣΗ