Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens went to worship the holy relics of Saint Barbara at the church bearing the same name in Egaleo, Athens, where he criticized SYRIZA parliamentary representative Nikos Filis for his comments on the separation of church and state in Greece.
The Archbishop honored the reliquary on Thursday along with hundreds of Greek Orthodox faithful who had formed endless lines.
The arrival of the reliquary that was received with the honors reserved for heads of state generated a controversy in Greek parliament. Filis said that worshipping the relics is idolatry, that there is a holy relics “trade” going on and that the time is ripe for separation of church and state.
When asked to comment on Filis’ statements about the separation of church and state, the Archbishop poignantly said that, “Those who think such thoughts will regret it.”
The holy relics will be transferred to the Saint Savvas Oncology Hospital on Friday so they can be worshiped by the ill and their families. Health Minister Panagiotis Kouroublis, who was scheduled to be the state official present, cancelled his appearance because he had to be in Geneva for a World Health Organization conference.
Kouroublis had received criticism from within the government and the opposition for his scheduled appearance at the oncology hospital.