The Mayor of Athens Giorgos Kaminis and the Mayor of Thessaloniki Yiannis Boutaris, expressed on Wednesday their support to SYRIZA’s proposal for the creation of cremation facilities. Kaminis and Boutaris with an announcement issued by the Municipality of Thessaloniki and signed by both mayors, appealed to the Greek government to include legislation allowing cremation facilities in an omnibus bill by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Initially their appeal had been rejected. However, on Thursday the Minister of Environment, Yiannis Maniatis informed the two mayors that he will submit a regulation for the creation of crematoria outside cemeteries in Athens and Thessaloniki.
The two mayors in a joint statement on Wednesday claimed that “invisible forces” that prevent Greece from adapting to international standards and from respecting every citizen’s right of choice. They also pointed out that Greece must respect fundamental human rights.
Cremation has been established by Greek law but has never been put to practice because of reactions, mainly from the Church of Greece.
A legislation allowing the cremation of the dead in Greece was approved in 2006, for the first time in the country’s history. In the UK cremation has been allowed since 1884 while it is estimated that cremation represents 50% of the country’s total funerals. In France cremation has been allowed since 1887.
The law permits the cremation of people who request this method given that their religion also allows it. However, it forbids cremation for Orthodox Christians as the Church of Greece opposes the practice.