February 19, 2005

World: Greek church leader seeks nation's forgiveness as scandals deepen


[World News]: ATHENS, Greece -- Greece's embattled Orthodox Church leader begged the nation for forgiveness Friday after a blitz of allegations ranging from trial-fixing to purported sex escapades battered the church's reputation as guardian of Greek culture and honor.

The apology by Archbishop Christodoulos -- made as senior clerics opened an emergency conclave to impose reforms -- showed the depth of the crisis for the church and its attempts to regain its footing even as the embarrassing scandals continue to unfold.

Public outrage has reached such a level that some lawmakers and commentators have suggested stripping the Orthodox Church of its status as the official state religion -- a once almost unthinkable proposal in a nation where church and political history are often intertwined.

"I humbly ask for forgiveness from the people and the clerics who, in their majority, honor ... the cassock they wear," Christodoulos said in his opening statement to the church's governing Holy Synod. He called the crisis "particularly grave."

Posted by kshaw at February 19, 2005 04:06 PM