Τhe Implementation Plan of the Church-State Agreement, which was handed over to the Dialogue Committee of the Permanent Holy Synod, foresees inter alias the establishment of a Salary Fund for the Church of Greece and of a register of clergymen and lay Employees of the Church of Greece, as well as the exploitation of “a controversial and thus inactive and pending property”.
The 10-page Implementation Plan of the State-Church Agreement was given to the representatives of the Church of Greece, at the meeting held in the Ministry of Education, Research and Religions.
According to the ministry’s announcement, this plan “definitively removes all the concerns expressed, following the joint announcement by the Prime Minister and the Archbishop on the draft State-Church Agreement of 6 November 2018, whether due to lack of information or misunderstanding. The plan records the important reasons why this historic agreement will be mutually beneficial to both parties, as well as to the clergy.”
Also, in the ministry’s announcement it is stated that the proposed legislation “not only does not affect the existing payroll status of the clergy but, on the contrary, it substantially improves it.”
Within the framework of the proposed agreement:
-The service status and permanence of clergymen as religious officers and clerks owned by legal person established under public law, remain unchanged and are not affected, as it is currently the case.
-Τhe amount of wages of the clergy, which is still determined by the bill on unified wage as applicable from time to time and follows the increases of civil servants, remains unchanged and is not affected.
-The means and timing of the payment of clerical wages, which will continue to be done by the Single Payment Authority, remain unchanged and are not affected.
It is also planned to create a special church fund for the payment of clergymen’s salaries in which the state will pay annually the wages of the clergymen who at this time receive a public sector wage.
Furthermore, a register of clergy and lay employees of the Church of Greece is established, which includes all those who are paid by the special church fund and guarantees all the rights currently enjoyed by the clergymen.
“The special significance of the proposed plan lies in the fact that it provides for the ratification of the agreement by law, with the result that the provisions agreed and ratified by law are no longer possible to be amended in the future unilaterally by state law,” the minister stressed. The agreement may then be amended by means of an additional agreement of the two parties.
Finally, there are considerable economic and legal benefits associated with the Ecclesiastical Property Development Fund, for both the state and the Church of Greece, through the exploitation of “a controversial and thus inactive and pending property”.