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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-01-08

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Karamanlis confers with ND sec't Zagoritis; latter confident over position on Article XVI
  • [02] Permission denied for 'blessing of the waters' rite in Izmir

  • [01] Karamanlis confers with ND sec't Zagoritis; latter confident over position on Article XVI

    The ruling party's initiatives and planning in the coming period dominated a meeting on Monday between Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and New Democracy (ND) secretary Lefteris Zagoritis, with ND's political council set to convene on Jan. 18 and a central committee meeting also scheduled for this month.

    Afterwards, Zagoritis again answered an oft-repeated query of political reporters, namely, if and when early elections will take place. The ND secretary merely reminded of the premier's standing position that elections will take place in 2008, when the government's term expires.

    "What we're interested in, and what interests all citizens isn't elections, but if there are results (from the government's policies)," he merely added.

    He also stressed that the government's high-profile reforms policy will continue.

    Finally, asked about the looming prospect of setting in motion the legal process to revise Article XVI, Zagoritis said a lengthy dialogue has already taken place on the issue, whereas most citizens now share the ruling party's position that a constitutional ban on anything but state-run universities should be repealed.

    A first vote in this Parliament to revise Article XVI will probably occur next month or in early March. If 180 deputies vote in favor of the revision in this session, then a simple majority of 151 MPs (out of a total of 300) in the next legislative body to be sworn-in -- following the upcoming general election -- will be needed to revise the constitutional article.

    If only a simple majority votes in favor of the proposal in this Parliament, then 180 MPs will be needed to revise the article in the next Parliament.

    Caption: File photo of Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. ANA-MPA

    [02] Permission denied for 'blessing of the waters' rite in Izmir

    Turkish authorities on Saturday, Epiphany Day, did not allow the "Blessing of the Waters" religious ceremony to take place at Izmir port, an annual rite that was carried out by the Orthodox Church last year in line with the implementation of an announcement by Turkey's foreign ministry allowing and protecting the exercise of religious ceremonies by minorities living in the country.

    Last year, the Greek consul in Izmir, Georgios Katapodis, organised an Epiphany Day celebration, the first time since the population exchanges between Greece and Turkey in 1922 and 1923.

    This year, the Greek consul again asked for the Izmir's prefect's permission for the specific religious ceremony to be held. The answer given stated that "the permit cannot be given because the request was not submitted in writing but only verbally."

    The Epiphany Day ceremony in Izmir was held in the courtyard of the Greek Orthodox chapel of Aghia (St.) Fotini by Ecumenical Patriarchate Archimandrite Kyrillos Sykis.

    Meanwhile, Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Sunday received pilgrims who attended the Epiphany Day celebration at his Fanar district office.

    Caption: A Greek Orthodox priest performs the ancient "blessing of the waters" rite at the historic chapel in Izmir on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, in the presence of Greek diplomats and local government office-holders from the nearby Greek isles of Hios and Lesvos. ANA-MPA photo / S. Balaskas.

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