The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece's Holy Synod, its top ecclesiastical body, on Friday voted to exclude the issue of clergymen's payroll from church-state negotiations, a development viewed as a direct rebuke of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos' tentative agreement with the current Tsipras coalition government.
The decision was unanimous, according to initial reports.
Taking roughly 10,000 Orthodox clergy and administrative staff off the state's civil service payroll and replacing the outlay with an annual 200-million-euro "subsidy", to be paid directly to the Church of Greece, was the highlight of a tentative agreement abruptly announced earlier in the month by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Ieronymos.
An announcement by the Holy Synod merely added that dialogue with the state will continue over "issues of mutual interest", and that a special committee will be established to present a report to the Church's hierarchy over pending "issues".
Ieronymos' reportedly failed to persuade members of the Holy Synod, who hold the rank of Metropolitan (bishop) in the Church of Greece and usually have ecclesiastical jurisdiction over specific geographic regions, over his proposals.