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Archive for the ‘In English’ Category

Yet another case where the Christian Fundamentalists in Greece can use the law to abuse artists and creators.

  • First there was “Corpus Christi” (you can read about it here, here and here) I think they were acquitted, but I’m not entirely sure; I can’t find any sources to that.
  • Then there was “Elder Pastitsios” (here, here and here) who was eventually convicted in 2014 to 10 months in prison (suspended for 3 years).
  • Then there was Dionysis Kavalieratos (here) who had his art exhibit invaded by more or less the same people who got offended and dragged him to court as well in 2013. Thankfully, he was acquitted.

And now there’s a new case to add to this list. A few days ago an Old Calendarist monk, well-known for his semi-hillarious, semi-worrying antics* led a small group of people in protest against a “blasphemous” theatrical play in Thessaloniki; “The Hour of the Devil” by Portuguese playwright Ferndando Pessoa (written in the early 20th c.; Pessoa died in 1935).

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I’m sure many of you will have seen this claim in online discussions with Creationists. Estimates on the age of the universe based on biblical sources were prevant during the heyday of the Atheist-Creationist conflict. Of course, this is no new thing, but old as Christianity itself.

From early on some Church Father realized that the Bible contained dates and clues that oculd be used to estimate the age of the world. It was the Byzantine Empire that enshrined one of these estimates by law and used the Creation in September 1st of 5509 B.C. as a basis for its calendar. It sounds funny, but this Anno Mundi Calendar was used for many centuries. It first appeared in the 7th century and started getting replaced in the Orthodox World by “A.D.” and “B.C.” just in the 16th century (in Russia it was changed by Peter the Great in the 1700s).

This is also the source of the well-known image from the website of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which has been amply mocked by the greek atheist community.

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Πρόπερσι το Φλεβάρη ασχολήθηκα για δεύτερη φορά με το Atheist Census, ενός ενδιαφέροντος πρότζεκτ της Διεθνούς Αθεϊστικής Συμμαχίας. Το Atheist Census ξεκίνησε κάποια στιγμή στα τέλη του 2012, οπότε τρέχει για κάτι πάνω από 4 έτη. Καιρός λοιπόν να ασχοληθώ με το ζήτημα για τελευταία φορά. (Παρεμπιπτόντως, πατάω πάνω στο παλιό άρθρο για να γράψω το καινούριο, οπότε το φορμάτ είναι πανομοιότυπο). Two years ago in February I dabbled for the second time with the Atheist Census, a very interesting project by the Atheist Alliance International. The Atheist Census kicked off at some point in late 2012, so it’s been going on for a bit more than 4 years now. So it’s high time I check it out for the last time. (By the way, if this seems familiar, it’s because I’m writing over the old article, so the format will be identical).
Όπως και τις προηγούμενες φορές, τα στοιχεία αναγκάστηκα να τα τραβήξω χειροκίνητα (βρήκα έναν τρόπο για να μειώσω τα λάθη, αλλά μπορεί να έχουν ξεφύγει μερικά). Τα στοιχεία τα τράβηξα στις 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2017. Like last time I had to extract the date manually (I found a way to do it more accurately, but there might still be a few errors here and there). The data was retrieved on February 12th, 2017
Όσοι δεν έχετε συμμετάσχει μπορείτε να απογραφείτε. Το μόνο που χρειάζεται είναι μία διεύθυνση e-mail για επιβεβαίωση (μια μετάφραση των ερωτήσεων μπορείτε να βρείτε εδώ). Αν έχετε λάβει ήδη μέρος στην απογραφή, μην διπλοεγγραφείτε· τα ανακριβή δεδομένα μας είναι άχρηστα. Κάντε κλικ στην εικόνα για να απογραφείτε. If you haven’t participated, feel free to step up and get counted. All you need is an email address for verification purposes. If you’ve already participated, please don’t “vote” again; we need good data, not the false appearance of popularity. Click on the image below to visit the census site and get yourself counted.

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A friend of mine and organizer of the 1st Greek Mythicist Conference asked me today to translate the following article from their blog concerning a censorship attempt by the greek far right Golden Dawn party. The attempt was of course doomed to fail, as the Greek Constitution does not permit such interventions in private events, and it is more likely that the attempt was made at all just to placate the fundamentalist Orthodox base of the party, but it is still an unpalatable and troublesome development. Keep reading for the Greek Mythicists announcement.

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Those who follow the atheist movement in Greece might know that every Good Friday (April 29th in 2016) the Atheist Union of Greece has been organizing for the past 6 years an event called “Faneros Deipnos”. The name is a wordplay of the “Last Supper” which is Greek is called as “Supper in Hiding” (Mystikos Deipnos); so we organize a “Supper in Public”. The event is typically scheduled on Good Friday around 9 p.m., the time during which the various churches parade the “epitaphios” (a wooden carrying case, adorned with flowers and containing a cloth icon of Christ being lamented around as he has just been deposed from the cross). The event is meant to provocatively break the strict Good Friday fast, usually with roasts and kebabs (though participants are free to chose what they want to eat; no one is forced to eat meat or anything).

The event has so far been held successfully in Athens and Thessalonica for 5 consecutive years. Until this year. This year was different.

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Now this is something you don’t see every day.

The Atheist Union of Greece (AUG) typically makes press releases and sends letters to public officials regarding matters in its fields of interest, but this was the first time a meeting was arranged face to face with an elected representative.

On August 6th two members of the AUG, the president (Fotis Frangopoulos) and the treasurer (Antonis Markouizos) met with the Deputy Minister of Culture, Education and Religions (Tasos Kourakis) and discussed several issues, the most important of which was the continuing problems students face when trying to get an exemption from religious education in all three levels and 12 years of public education (elementary school, junior high and high school).

The Deputy Minister was reportedly friendly, the discussion lasted about 30 minutes and and the AUG was promised that the Ministry would try to resolve the issue as swiftly as possible. I should note that a promise from a politician pretty much means jack shit in Greece (pardon the French) even under normal political conditions, let alone the current tumultuous situation (as I’m writing this the government has resigned, trying to renew its approval with national elections on September 20th). In any case, however, it was a first step and that should not get overlooked.

I have translated the text presented to the Deputy Minister below, but before you read it you should probably check out this article first, since it describes the various ways Orthodox Christianity intersects with school life in Greece. Originally it was intended to be included here, but it grew rather lengthy and I placed it apart. If you want to learn even more about Orthodoxy and its role in the modern Greek State, you can check out this article as well.

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This article started as a synopsis of the role of Orthodox Christianity in the Greek School Life, as a part of this article on the visit of representatives of the Atheist Union of Greece to the Minister of Education, but it grew rather lengthy in the writing so I’m putting it here separately. If you want to learn even more about Orthodoxy and its role in the modern Greek State, you can check out this article as well.


The owl: symbol of Athena, goddess of Wisdom, used regularly by educational organizations in Greece (like the pictured logo of the now defunct “Organization for the Publication of Educational Books”, which used to publish all school manuals).

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