Public Authorities and the Training of Religious Personnel in Greece
Proceedings of the European Consortium for Church and State Research Symposium 2013, Strasbourg, 22-23 November 2013 (text)
This report deals with the involvement of public authorities in the training of religious personnel and other relevant staff by exploring the system developed in Greece. The report is organised into three parts: history (1), contemporary law (2) and emerging mechanisms (3). The term ‘ecclesiastical education’ will be used throughout this report to describe the subject field. By this term we mean educational structures institutionalised by both the Church and the State with the purpose of educating and training prospective religious personnel and accommodating the needs of the Church. As the highly important recent law (L 3432/2006 ) states, “the aim of Ecclesiastical Education is to promote and train the clergy and laymen of the Orthodox Church in Greece so as to raise the level of their education and Christian ethos”. In other words, ecclesiastical education mainly, but not exclusively, aims to develop executives for recruitment into various sectors of the Church, on the basis of their specific inclinations and talents, as well as to support those who choose to be appointed priests and become part of the clergy. As will be shown below, ecclesiastical education in Greece was only for a short period of time undertaken by the Church itself, while for most of the modern Greek state’s life it has been the State itself that has organised and financed the preparation and training of Orthodox Christian ministers, through a complicated and fluid system. The same does not apply, however, to Muslim ministers, who are educated partly in Greece and partly outside the country.