New Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday received Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos at the Maximos Mansion government house, a courtesy visit by the latter that nevertheless marked a "break" from the soured relations between the influential Church of Greece and the previous Tsipras government.
Both men referred to the distinct roles between Church and state in the country, while saying that relations must not become the object of petty partisan exploitation. At the same time, both sides said dialogue between the relevant education and religious affairs ministry with a delegation of Holy Synod members will be revived, in order to deal with pending issues, such as the scope of teaching of religious studies in public schools and the long-standing prospect of exploitation of Church properties.
On his part, Mitsotakis said his government will retain the current payroll and pension regime for Orthodox clerics in the country, breaking with the preceding leftist government, which had signalled its intent to remove clerics from the civil servants' payroll, but instead guarantee salaries for the current number of clerics via another remuneration scheme.
On his part, Ieronymos said a controversial draft agreement, in principle, for changes in Church-state relations, which he had personally negotiated with former prime minister Alexis Tsipras, is now null.