Parliament shuns talk of Church separation

Athens, Greece - The majority of MPs in Parliament yesterday avoided adopting a proposal which would effectively begin the separation of the Church from the state.

The idea has the support of the Communist party, Synaspismos Left Coalition and two independent deputies, but Education and Religion Minister Marietta Giannakou said she supported a low-key dialogue about the Church’s role which would not provoke a reaction from the public.

PASOK also failed to support the separation proposal, saying the time was not right to adopt some of the suggestions, which include requiring the Church to pay the wages of its clergy and making civil weddings compulsory.

Giannakou also conceded that the construction of a mosque in Paeania would not be enough to cover the needs of the Muslim community in Attica and that more places of worship were needed.