The Panhellenic Union of Theologians Reacts to the Possibility of Exemption from the Religious Course team | 30 August 2022

The Orthodox community in Greece disagree with the initiative of the Office for the Protection of Personal Data, which allows students to be exempted from the compulsory course of religious studies. In particular, the Panhellenic Union of Theologians protested against it, reported on August 28, 2022.

If the change is accepted by the Ministry of Education, students will be able to get an exemption from the course simply by verbally stating that they do not want to attend it for reasons of conscience. At the same time, the right to refuse to attend the religious course will be given not only to representatives of non-Christian confessions, but also to Orthodox students.

Theologians pointed out that in connection with this initiative, the course of religious studies for the first time in the history of the country’s education is transformed from compulsory to optional. They characterized the proposal as unconstitutional, emphasizing that no one has the right to distort or change the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

“Can an advisory body (the Office for Personal Data Protection – ed.) in a well-governed state be allowed to determine, contrary to the Constitution and laws, the content of Greek education and which subjects will be compulsory and which are optional?” asked the Union of Theologians in its appeal.

Expressing concern for the moral development of students, the academic community called on the Ministry of Education to reject this innovation. As noted in the statement, hiding behind the development of “national consciousness” and other similar pretexts, the initiators of this innovation will inevitably want to make some more “constitutional amendments” in relation to other compulsory subjects.

“The religious course has undoubtedly been subjected to a fierce war by well-known anti-Christian circles in recent decades, and, as recent events show, we are closer than ever to its final abolition as part of an organized plan to destroy everything Orthodox in the Greek school,” the editors of commented on the initiative.

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