Athens News Agency - June 12, 2000

Spyridon Makes Statement on Greek Identity Cards Issue

By Justine Frangouli

The clash between the Church of Greece and the Greek Government over the issue whether or not the holder's religion should appear on identity cards has been a matter of concern to Archbishop Spyridon, former Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America. In an exclusive statement made to the Athens News Agency from Portugal, where he has taken up permanent residence, the Archbishop commented:

"I believe that the disagreement between Church and State should be quickly and peacefully resolved through basic concessions made by both sides, before the gap becomes unbridgeable on an issue which in fact is not of vital importance. Both the Church and the Greek State have a moral obligation towards the Greek people to help to de-escalate the crisis, which, if prolonged, could lead to unforeseeable consequences for the country."

"We have reached the crucial point where all Church and State institutions and mechanisms should now be brought into play to guarantee the preservation of the Hellenic cultural and ideological identity in the melting-pot that is today's United Europe."

The former Archbishop of America concluded by stressing that "In a period when globalization is creating a clearly visible danger of assimilation for our people, at a time when the Greek American lobby has become inactive in promoting Greek National issues, the historic powers that determine the Greek people's identity are called upon to map out the way to ensure its survival."

[ Translated from Greek ]

[ Αθηναϊκό Πρακτορείο Ειδήσεων - June 12, 2000 ]