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Greek political upheavals

27 November 2020

November 26th, 1920.

[The result of the Greek elections, with support for “the ex-monarch of mean character, mediocre ability and overwhelming conceit” and the ousting of Eleftherios Venizelos as Prime Minister, has ecclesiastical repercussions.]

THERE are countries in which Church and State are still more intimately associated than in England. If Mr Lloyd George had to leave the country after a heavy defeat at the polls, it would not be necessary for the Archbishop of Canterbury to leave with him. But the defeat of Mr Venizelos has necessitated the departure from Athens of the Metropolitan Meletios, who has since been deposed. In his place the former Archbishop Theoclitos has again ascended the throne. It was this prelate who on Christmas Day in 1916 officiated at a barbaric ceremony in which Mr Venizelos, represented by a bull’s head, was anathematized and stoned, the Archbishop casting the first stone and King Constantine’s men completing the pile. Whether the Metropolitan Theoclitos acted voluntarily or by compulsion is not clear. In any case the friends of reunion will regret the departure of Archbishop Meletios, one of the really strong men in the Orthodox Church, who on his recent visit to England made so many friends, and with whose deposition so many schemes of higher education and active work in Greece will necessarily fall in abeyance.

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