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Sunday, March 27, 2005 

Public Relations vs. Public Alienation?

For the past two months, the Greek Orthodox church has been overwhelmed by so many scandals being exposed on a daily basis, it's nearly impossible to keep track of them all. One thing that has remained consistent and apparent throughout the debacle, are the ridiculous and even more damaging responses to each accusation. If the Church is going to weather this hurricane of media attention, then it had best get on the phone and hire some spin doctors with combined Ph.Ds in Public Relations, Damage Control and Diplomacy. Considering that these hyperbolic defences used by the Church are also employed by Greek politicians, Athletic Associations and anyone else who finds themselves on Page 1 of a Greek newspaper, they better start dialling long distance to the US of A to find their saviour. I hear Bill Clinton's not too busy these days. Since he, himself, has squirmed out of so many potential political deathtraps, I know he'd be my first choice.

Archbishop Christodoulos
Before the members of the Holy Synod and a host of the faithful, the Archbishop set himself in charge of the purging, while he appealed to all those making revelations to stop, as they hold people hostage. Christodoulos also stressed that it is hypocritical to claim that they reveal the truth in this way, and he expressed the conviction that all this is taking place to strike a blow at people’s faith in the Church and not to cause cleansing. "Such problems are not faced via prosecution. They are faced by the Church itself," he said, stressing that spiritual fathers are not prosecutors, lawyers, policemen, judges, they are simple spiritual fathers and should follow the example of Christ and be close to sinners. (Feb. 6, 2005)

The wolf tending the sheep. With charges of trial fixing, drug dealing, sex scandals and embezzlement swirling around him, Archbishop Christodoulos is actually telling the media to stop reporting these revelations and refers to these scandals not as the crimes which they are but as "problems" to be faced only by the church and not through legal prosecution. And as later allegations and charges surface against Christodoulos himself, how convenient it will be that he's in charge of his own investigations.

"These revelations are an orchestrated and targeted slanderous attack on the Church.” (Feb. 9, 2005)

When all else fails, blame someone else.

“I considered, but immediately rejected, the possibility of resigning because I do not believe I am a part of the problem.” (Interview on Alpha Television--Feb. 28, 2005)

The man who is at the helm of the Church of Greece considers himself not to be part of the problem while bishop after bishop, priest after priest are being involved daily in yet more scandals. If an organization promotes itself as the beacon of all that's good and righteous in this world and yet employs nothing but corrupt, lying and fraudulent men, is the president not responsible for the creating an environment where criminal behaviour is allowed to flourish?

Bishop Anthimos
On the other hand, Metropolitan Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki blamed the attack suffered by the Church on the Media, calling on the faithful to turn off their televisions. (Feb. 6, 2005)

This defence is original. Condemn the media for exposing the sins and protect the faithful (the church?) by encouraging them to turn off their televisions. No scandals if no one knows about it right? I wonder if this defence will also work when the religious Armageddon comes and the fireball meant to destroy earth is in plain sight of the faithful...will he then instruct us all to cover our eyes because what we can't see won't hurt us?

Irenaios, Patriarch of Jerusalem
"Demons are circling the walls of the holy city and trying to crush those who support the Jerusalem patriarchate and the brotherhood of the Holy Land." (Feb. 28, 2005)

After the story broke that Orthodox church property had been sold illegally to Israelis in Jerusalem under the Patriarch's watch, Irenaios deflects the blame with grand use of biblical hellfire vocabulary and calls anyone who reported on the story or believes the story 'demons' and accuses them instead of trying to destroy the church.

“If I have done this, let my hands be cut off." (March 26, 2005)

Time to get measured for the prosthetics, Irenaios since the Church’s general secretary, Archbishop Aristarchos, claims that Irenaios was solely responsible for giving the Church’s former financial manager, Nikos Papadimas, the authority to sign the long-term leases.

Well first of all, I'm impressed you've remembered all the various comments made by members of the Church! I'm guessing you've been making notes for the past few months while this has been going on. I think the problem we now face is no-one's shocked by the revelations any more. I mean, what's going on this week?? Well the Patriarch of Jerusalem Eirinaios is determined to stay in office as he holds the post for life (apparently) even though Jordan and Palestine are demanding written explinations for his actions within the next 48 hours. He basically wrote a letter to the Greek government saying 'yo, don't interfear in our internal matters, your historic duty is to "to support the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem.' Oh and he mentioneds some hoo haa about keeping the Greek flag in the Hold Land". So that's that sorted apprently. So what else is happening this week, oh right, an Albanian TV station broadcast footage of what it said was a Greek Orthodox priest engaged in 'sexual acts' with Albanian boys! The channel said the video, filmed in the past 10 days, was taped secretly at a hotel in Korca, southeastern Albania. It identified the man as a priest from Veroia.

I'm not so sure learning about the affairs of ther nations is such a good thing, not with those odd stories.
"I hope you will be plagued with gnats, flies and locusts, thou lazy Babylonian!"

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