Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Greece’ Category

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.

Read On »

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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.

Read On »

Read Full Post »

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.

Read On »

Read Full Post »

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).

Read On »

Read Full Post »

With the end of the 2015 National Elections in Greece, it became a point of interest that Greece elected their first ever openly atheist Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. While this is mildly interesting (mostly since I’m more inclined to believe that Tsipras’ atheism is an outgrowth of his marxist past than any real philosophical reflection) it is important for people to understand the history that has shaped the current entangled relations between the Orthodox Church and the Hellenic Republic and why this creates special challenges for the secularization of the country.

Hopefully the following article will help you understand the complex interaction between Orthodoxy, the greek national identity and the government.

And in order to do that we have to start our historical journey way back, in the era of the roman and byzantine emperors. Yes, the seeds of the current situation were planted all the way back in 313 A.D., when Emperor Constantine signed the Edict of Milan.

Two notes: All unsourced images are public domain images from Wikipedia; the word “Church” is used with two meanings: before the establishment of the Greek State, it refers to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, after that it’s a reference to the Church of Greece.

Read On »

Read Full Post »

You must have heard by now. The Greek National Elections came and went. Today Greece has a new Prime Minister (Alexis Tsipras) as the head of a new ruling coalition between his party, the “Coalition of the Radical Left” (SY.RIZ.A.) and the “Independent Greeks” (AN.EL.). I’ll let the political pundits and the economists deal with that this will mean for the EU, the bailout and the local and european economies. I’d rather focus on the significance of the elections on the secularism front.

And I have to say that despite the julibations caused by today’s secular ministerial installment in the greek and international atheist community, I remain skeptical. SYRIZA is too much of a mixed bag to warrant anything other than the mildest of optimistic approaches.

Read On »

Read Full Post »

This season brought us some strange rulings from the Hellenic Supreme Court of Cassation (aka “Areus Pagus”). One I personally find hardly surprising and the other came as quite a shock.

First off, a clarification: Areus Pagus is not like the SCOTUS. It only deals with civil and criminal cases; the constitutionality of legislation is judged by a different court, the Council of State. Second, it has an icon of Jesus hanging over the judges, but that’s a different story entirely. The Italians have been fighting against this for quite some time with hardly any results, so I’m not confident at all about Greece making any sort of progress on this issue.

Generally speaking, Areus Pagus has a good reputation in greek society and is relatively well-respected, but has a history of having Themis (the greek equivalent of Justitia) peek under its blindfold and put a finger on her scales in cases where political issues are being considered.

Read On »

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »