Church–State Relations in Today’s Crisis-Beset Greece: A Delicate Balance Within a Frantic Society
This chapter examines the varied stages of the development of the church–state relationship in Greece, with a focus on the delivery of welfare services. The charity mission of the church is, and has always been, very significant as it cooperates at many levels with the state on fighting poverty, supporting seniors and disabled citizens, and boosting the social integration of immigrants. The pressure that would be brought onto the welfare state if these services were stopped would be vast. It is obvious that no other mechanism could replace the contribution of the church on this issue. Historically, there have always been tensions in church–state relationships. Current controversial issues include the management of the large property of the church, religious teaching at schools, the separation of church and state, and social issues like the incineration of the dead, abortions, and same-sex marriages. The church has never been silent on such national debates, but on the contrary, it mobilizes all its powers to support and/or impose its opinions.