Greek Lawmakers Lift Ban on Cremation

Athens, Greece - Greek lawmakers on Wednesday approved new legislation to lift a standing ban on cremation of the dead, parliamentary officials said.

The law, which human rights groups have long demanded, stressed that cremation would not be available for Orthodox Christians, in a bid to mollify the country's powerful Orthodox Church.

Church of Greece officials fiercely oppose cremation as an option for believers, arguing that Orthodox traditions only allow burial.

A predominantly Christian Orthodox country, Greece has small populations of Catholics, Protestants and Muslims.

Greece has no cremation facilities, and Greeks who wish to have their loved ones cremated are forced to send the bodies abroad.

The law was drafted by nine deputies from the governing conservatives, the main opposition Socialists and the small Synaspismos coalition.