State Department’s 2011 Report on Religious Freedom in Greece

The State Department 2011 Report on International Religious Freedom underlines that the Greek government shows respect towards religious beliefs and their practice and that there was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government since last year. The American publishers deem as a “highly positive development” for Greece the fact that for the first time since 2006 the country’s government has issued 10  house of prayer permits to establish and operate new places of worship during the reporting period.

Furthermore, the Report mentions the unveiling of a memorial stone found in the area of Chalkis, which was dedicated to the Greek-Hebrew A’ World War hero, Mardocheus Frizis, and was attended by government delegates and other politicians.

The ongoing private character relationships and connections between officers of the Orthodox Church and members of minor religious groups are also considered to be very positive.

According to State Department, there were some reports in the media of societal abuses of religious freedom and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice but their number was smaller than the year before. Additionally, prominent figures of the political and social spectrum made progressive steps towards promoting freedom of religion.

In most of the Report’s chapters about Greece, the “institutionalized interconnection” of the Greek Orthodox Church to the State is being stressed out as well as the administrative restrictions some religious groups face on forming legally recognized religious organizations, which results in them being discriminated.