Only in a site that has been planned for the construction of a church of the Orthodox Christians can a temple be built and established, according to a decision of the Council of State.
Based on this decision, the church of Panagia Eleftherotria was not allowed to operate in Votanikos, near the Islamic Mosque under construction.
In particular, the “Athena” Cultural Association and 153 citizens requested from the Kolonos Police Station to allow them to enter and celebrate for 6 days in November and December 2018 in the church of the Holy Trinity – Panagia Eleftherotria, at 114 Iera Odos str. in Votanikos (building block 25A).
They were not granted permission and appealed to the CoS claiming that their religious freedom, which is enshrined in Article 13 of the Constitution, is violated.
Department D of the Council of State rejected the petition for annulment, considering that the foundation of this temple, when it was founded, was not and still isn’t compatible with the current urban planning system of the area, so the request to allow access to the church in question was legitimately rejected.
In particular, it refers to the judgment that the establishment and operation of a church presupposes the choice of a site, in which its construction has been legally determined that is permitted according to urban planning or can be exceptionally permitted.
The site where the church of Panagia Eleftherotria was erected is a public property and the facilities that existed there were for the needs of the Navy, and are planned to be demolished.
Finally, it was considered that the establishment of a church in the area in question is incompatible with urban policy, as State Counselors state. They also point out that even if it is considered that a church of Old Calendarists does not require a prior permission of the Minister of Education to operate, the churches of this religious community may be established and operate in existing buildings, provided that these buildings are intended to serve worshiping needs.