The Greek Orthodox bishop of the town of Veria, northern Greece, has conducted a special service where he distributed blessed pens to the town’s students preparing to sit university entrance exams.
Bishop Panteleimon has been apparently conducting a liturgy every year to offer prayers for the students who are about to embark on the panhellenic exams to win place in higher education institutions.
This year he added a new twist in the ceremony by blessing the pens with which the students would compete in the exams.
The pens, gathered in a basket, were distributed to the students after the service in the town’s Metropolitan church on June 5.
Local media report that the pens, adorned with the logo of the Mitropolis and a short message wishing ‘Good Luck’, were given to each student from the hands of the bishop himself.
The three-week university entrance exam is the single event that defines a Greek student’s success — or failure — in the educational system.
The pressure to score high in tough tests, one day after the other, in combination with Greek society’s view that every student should obtain a university degree, makes the exams a traumatic event for many Greek youngsters.