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Archive for the ‘Greece’ Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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On March 14th, 2013, Greek artist Dionysis Kavalieratos was tried in court on blasphemy charges brought on him by members of the ultra-conservative “Genuine Orthodox Christians” Church (the Greek Old Calendarists, that also starred in the “Corpus Christi” charade). The charges were due to the following three sketches exhibited by the artist in a private art gallery (the owner of the venue was a co-defendant).

(Click to enlarge)

Happy Easter
Starring: Jesus as the lamb of god, Virgin Mary as Medea, God as the Devil, Devil as God, Sir Winston Churchill as himself.
 
Seven Dicks Jesus
offering a multi blowjob to the Lernea Hydra,the nine headed monster. The two remaining heads eat manna bread falling from the sky.

Hidden in Napoleon’s Boudoir
are the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus and Satan;
they’re being flashed by Napoleon.

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Updated 01.11.2012

Last time (04.10.2012) the people protesting the “blasphemous” play “Corpus Christi” promised to return with more support (some claimed that they would be complemented by Golden Dawn members; Greece’s resident ultranationalistic, if not fascist party). Yesterday afternoon they made good on their promise.

News agencies speak of a crowd of around 50-100 people gathering outside the theatre; among them the Golden Dawn MPs Elias Panayotaros and Christos Pappas (the same one who brought the Elder Pastitsios issue to Parliament). The reports speak of 4 MPs of Golden Dawn, but the other two are not mentioned by name and I didn’t see any of them in the videos.

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