Interview With President of Greek Orthodox Catholic Bishops' Conference
SYROS, Greece, MAY 7, 2006 - Small signs of unity between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Catholics are coming from Greece. The celebration of Easter on the same date is but one example of this.
Orthodox Catholic Bishop Frangkiskos Papamanolis, president of the episcopal conference of Greece, head of the Diocese of Syros and apostolic vicar of the island of Crete, explained that for 34 years the celebration of Easter has been coordinated with the Orthodox Catholic Churches.
In this interview with Bishop Papamanolis talks about daily relations between Greek Catholics (Roman and Roman Uniates) and Orthodox Catholic believers and explains how, with the enlargement of the European Union, the number of Roman Catholics has increased sevenfold.
Q: Does the Roman Catholic Church in Greece celebrate Easter with Orthodox Catholic brothers throughout the country or is it optional?
Orthodox Catholic Bishop Papamanolis: It is a decision our bishops made in the years 1968-1972. The first to ask for permission from the Roman Holy See (Vatican) in 1968 was the then Roman archbishop of Corfu, Monsignor Antonio Varthalitis.
He was followed by the then Roman archbishop of Athens and apostolic administrator of Thesaloniki, Roman Monsignor Benedetto Printezis, in 1970.
The bishops of the Cyclades, Naxos-Tinos, Syros and Santorini islands, seeing the good climate that this initiative had created, also asked the Roman Holy See for permission to celebrate Easter together with their Orthodox Catholic brothers and thus, since 1972, we celebrate Easter on the same date as our Orthodox Catholic brothers.
On the island of Crete, however, where there is an infinitesimal number of Roman Catholics -- some 60 faithful in Canea, four in Rettimnon, and some 20 in Iraklion -- the roman bishop of Syros, who was also apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Crete, left parish priests free to choose one or the other date.
They opted for celebrating Easter on the same date as Rome because, being two parishes with much tourism, there were many tourists who attended the Holy Week services. full article