The Fourth Section of the Council of State will discuss on May 5, 2020, the application lodged by four lawyers who seek the annulment of the joint ministerial decision as unconstitutional and illegal by virtue of which church and religious services were temporarily banned across the country.
In particular, two male and two female lawyers argue that Article 3 of the Greek Constitution provides for that the prevailing religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ and the sacred rules are strictly observed by the Holy Synod and the Standing Holy Synod.
Consequently, according to the four applicants, only the Holy Synod has the right to decide whether the liturgies will be performed or not, which is at the core of the right to religious freedom. They add that religious freedom is an individual right, which is safeguarded at a pan-European level.
They further argue that the Article 13 of the Greek Constitution is violated, which, in the context of citizens’ civil and social rights, provides for that the freedom of religious conscience is inviolable and the enjoyment of civil and political rights does not depend on the religious beliefs of anyone.
They further argue that the constitutionally protected principle of proportionality is also violated (Article 25 of the Greek Constitution) since the imposition of a temporary ban on religious services severely restricts the individual right of citizens while exceeding the public interest.