A Greek Orthodox bishop has been sharply criticised by the local Jewish community after he made a series of antisemitic remarks following the Church’s refusal to send him as its representative to the Easter Festival of the Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
Following the Synad’s decision to replace Bishop Seraphim, the Metropolitan of Piraeus with Metropolitan Athinagoras of Ilion, Seraphim accused Israel of preventing his visit and interfering in an internal Church matter.
In a statement, Seraphim said that Orthodox Christians stand against Zionism and “especially against the wing of Zionism that seeks world domination”. He similarly accused all other Christian denominations of being in favour of Jews, while also quoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and referring to freemasonry as the arms used by Zionism to secure infiltration and state manipulation.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece condemned the statement, while the Greek Helsinki Monitor filed a lawsuit against Seraphim for antisemitism.
“Once again, we are not surprised with the new delirium of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Piraeus, Seraphim, published on the official webpage of the Archdiocese of Piraeus,” the community said in a statement. “Despite his earnest efforts to dismantle the accusations of antisemitism, in his lengthy writings he refers to antisemitism as anti-Zionism, using well known antisemitic stereotypes, conspiracy theories and traditional Jew-hating attitudes, in order to be characterised not as antisemite but as anti-Zionist.”
“We believe that his statements are not compatible with the status of an official of the Greek Orthodox Church, a Church that evokes love and solidarity, neither with the status of a state official who is obliged to remain loyal to the Constitution and the laws of the Greek State,” the statement went on.
“We are certain that His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos (patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church) will agree that the hate campaign against the Jewish people is incompatible with the principles and the history of the Greek Orthodox Church.”
“The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece kindly asks His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos and the Hierarchs of the Church of Greece to isolate the extreme racist and antisemitic views circulating within the Church, which poison Greek society and undermine the harmonious co-existence of all Greek citizens, regardless of gender, skin colour or religion,” the statement concluded.