The demand for the modernisation of an institution as ancient as the Church may have seemed irrational until recently.

However, last week’s news about a priest’s attack on bishops with vitriol at Athens’ Petraki Monastery (home to the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece) and other news has had a dramatic impact on how one views its inner workings.

Now, even voices within the Church are demanding changes to some elements of the status quo so that it may adapt to the spirit and needs of our times.

The law regarding Church courts must be improved. After all, it was passed into law in 1932.

The preconditions for the ordination of clergy are antiquated. The examination of those who seek to become priests is deficient, as it depends only on one or two individuals.

The Church and State have a duty to cooperate on ironing out all the problematic issues that the 37-year-old priest who attacked the bishops brought to the fore – obviously unintentionally.

The education ministry (which has church-state relations under its purview) has proposed that the precondition for paying the salary of a clergyman (in Greece the clergy are paid by the state) be that he have a university degree.

That provision is included in draft legislation that is to be tabled in Parliament imminently and it is a step in the right direction, but obviously both sides must do more.

The selection process for people seeking ordination must guarantee that they meet certain criteria that will allow them to meet the obligations of a crucial position.

Worldly power must also have a say in Church affairs to some extent, not in order to control, it but rather to help it enter a new, more open era.

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