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Les relations Église-État

The Orthodox Church of Greece was established by the State as a legal entity under public law. Subsequently, the relationship between the state and the Church has generally followed the ’state-law rule’ system, wherein the Church is regarded as a state agency. The key characteristics, or the ’ideal type’, of this system, which has taken various forms in Greece to this day, typically include :
a) The state holds authority over religious matters, with the Church often being subordinate to political power.
b) Orthodox Christianity is recognised as the predominant religion of the state, serving as its official religion.
c) The Church is recognised as a legal entity under public law.
d) The Orthodox Church enjoys privileged legal and financial status compared to other religious denominations.
e) However, the state guarantees religious freedom to all its citizens.

According to Article 3 of the Constitution (1975, revised in 2019), ’the prevailing religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ. The Orthodox Church of Greece, acknowledging our Lord Jesus Christ as its head, is inseparably united in doctrine with the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople and with every other Church of Christ of the same doctrine, observing unwaveringly, as they do, the holy apostolic and synodal canons and sacred traditions.’ Furthermore, the Greek Parliament is vested with the authority to legislate on various religious matters (Article 72, paragraph 1).

The specific relations between the state and the Church are further delineated in Law 590/1977 (Official Government Gazette A’ 146). Among other provisions, it states that ’the Church of Greece should collaborate with the state on matters of mutual interest, such as the Christian education of youth ; religious services in the military ; support for the institution of marriage and family ; protection of holy relics and Ecclesiastical and Christian monuments ; establishment of new religious holidays ; and can request state protection whenever the Orthodox religion is insulted’ (Article 2).

D 13 juin 2024    AAlexandros Sakellariou

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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