A priest of the Archdiocese of Athens – who for the first time in Greece selected two girls to be in the “service” of the Church by making them altar servers, as it has been the case for centuries with boys.
According to a report published by tovima.gr, the “scandalous” event took place in Saint Nikolaos Ragavas in Plaka and the priest, who was suspended, is the Protopresbyter Alexandros Karyotoglou.
The decision of the clergyman caused a backlash from conservative circles and, therefore, he was called to Saint Filothei, where he was informed that he could no longer officiate during the Divine Liturgy nor had the right to perform sacraments (Weddings, Baptisms, Confessions, etc.) until the 12-member Holy Synod discusses the matter and takes a decision.
The Holy Synod is expected to meet next week and no one knows whether Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens raises the issue for discussion and what his suggestion will be. However, as his associates point out: “The aim of the decision is to counsel the clergyman as there was no consultation with the members of the Archdiocese.” “The priest did not receive any letter” but “he had a conversation with the Archbishop and the protosyncellus,” they added. And they condluded: “None of us can decide on their own.”
On the other hand, theologians stress that such arguments are pretexts…
Since 1982 the “female altar servers” in the Patriarchate of Antioch – Athens is hostage of fundamentalists
There are female altar servers since the early 1980s. It all started from the parish of St. Demetrius of Cologne, and the priest’s initiative was accompanied by a decision of the then Patriarch Ignatios of Antioch.
Since then, dozens of female altar servers in Europe and even in Damascus, the seat of the Patriarchate of Antioch, which was visited recently by Archbishop Ieronymos himself, are a common event.
“The indignation and denial of conservatives is hypocritical. Many women have long served in the Sanctuary: monasteries, institutions, summer camps and even parishes,” Protopresbyter Vassilios Thermos told to tovima.gr. The clergyman, who is one of the country’s most important priests, added: ‘In the meantime, most metropolitans do not care about the essence.’
The reason behind the fact that they don’t want girls in the sanctuary is the war of the ‘narrow-minded’.
Our Church has become a hostage of the fundamentalists. Any punishment of Fr. Alexandros would deeply scandalize people who are qualitative thinkers, serious people and express serious concerns. We are already getting a taste of the reactions caused.
Unfortunately, many of our Metropolitans are unaware that this group of people exists. So, when it comes to deciding, they opt for their privacy and sacrifice serious seekers. Extremists make a fuss which is disproportionate to their number, that is there are not too many of them.
If the moderate ones would bombard the Synod with demands for change, then our Bishops would be surprised. We love our Synod and do not want its authority to be shaken.”