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A letter by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece

addressed to Barroso* concerning the E.U. Calendar

Source:  http://www.romfea.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7038:2011-01-22-00-02-41&catid=23:2009-12-18-08-37-13

 

A Diary published for the... religiously tolerant education of children in the European Union, where the calendar mentions holidays such as the Hindu Sikh Baisakhi-Day, the Jewish Yom Kippur, and the Muslim holiday Aid-el-Kebir, but has left out... all the Christian holidays!!

 

An educational calendar produced by the European Union for school children in its 27 member countries omits major Christian holidays while including Jewish and Muslim holidays, which the EU calls an inadvertent error.

 

It should be noted that the said calendar was issued with European Union funds and - according to "Romfea.gr" unconfirmed sources - the matter was brought before the Synod by His Eminence the Metropolitan Daniel of Kaisariani.

The content of the letter is as follows:


The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has been informed, albeit with an unpleasant surprise, that, with funding by the European Union, a new calendar addressed to children has been issued and circulated, in which are noted all Islamic, Hindu and other religions' holidays, but without any mention whatsoever of Christian holidays.

This has given rise to many questions, given that the majority of the European Union's citizens belongs to the major Christian confessions.  How is it possible for European Union publications to have underrated and ignored the faith and the tradition of hundreds of millions of Europeans?

The role of Christianity in the shaping of Europe is an incontrovertible fact.  In the calendar there is a mention that it is an "inexhaustible source of information about the European Union" and yet, despite this claim, every mention of Christianity has been omitted.

How can we claim education for the youth of the European Union by denying a religion that has contributed toward the founding of the European Union and its unity?

The Christian faith holds first place among the religions of Europe. It is unthinkable, that such a matter of great importance in the lives of European citizens and a common faith in the Gospel values and principles should be thus doubted.

The Christian faith, more than being just a religious fact, is also the contributor and the shaper of the cultural History and the spiritual identity of the crushing majority of citizens of the European Union's member-states.

We are furthermore obliged to remind those responsible, of the Christian roots of Europe as recorded in History and also as admitted by leading European scholars such as Thomas Elliott, Paul Valery, e.a..

Besides, the first founders of the then E.E.C. (European Economic Community) - and specifically, Konrad Adenauer, Jean Monnet, Paul Henri Spaak, Alcide de Gasperi e.a. - had placed as their clear-cut goal the creation of a peaceful and democratic union of States, based on the principles of the Gospel.

Christianity, together with the classical Hellenic civilization and Roman (or more correctly, Byzantine-Roman) Justice, have been the deposits from which Europe has drawn its values of Democracy, its justice system, its respect for the human person, solidarity, social justice and tolerance.

Christian holidays such as the Nativity ("Christmas") and Easter - which have been omitted by the Calendar - are celebrated all over Europe by many people - even non-Christians.

We are certain that you will proceed to take the appropriate steps to rectify this very serious error and will give the necessary instructions so that this Calendar is not placed in circulation, but instead, a new one be printed, in which the Christian holidays also be clearly mentioned.

This will be in compliance with Article 17 of the Lisbon Treaty, by which the European Union acknowledges the role of the Churches in society and civilization and invites the major religious communities to a continuing and open dialogue.

We take this opportunity to wish you good health and for your labours to find progress through the Lord, during the New Year 2011, and we remain,

Respectfully Yours,

The Chief Secretary

Archmandrite Mark Vasilakis

 

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EU Calendar Omits Christian Holidays, While Noting Jewish, Muslim Celebrations

She wrote that Christianity has "fallen into the limbo of collective ignorance.

The European Union, meanwhile, calls the omission of Christian holidays on a calendar distributed to millions of students an error.

The book was designed to act as an educational calendar for students, allowing them to write their homework and activities. At the bottom of each page, are printed inspirational quotes, information or comments for reflection.

While Christian holidays are missing, Sikh Baisakhi-Day, Yom Kippur, and the Muslim holiday Aid-el-Kebir remain listed.

"At the bottom of each page of this 'class journal' are small quotes or information devoted to various subjects and perhaps less known to European students. Some of them sometimes refer to cultural events, historical and religious...This approach led, without any deliberate intent, in the absence of references to events and important religious festivals that are very much a part of European heritage, particularly...Christmas and its importance in the Christian religion."

The EU says the Christian holidays will be put back on the calendar for future printings.

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* José Manuel Durão Barroso, born 23 March 1956,,) is a Portuguese politician. He is the 11th and current President of the European Commission, since 23 November 2004. He served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 6 April 2002 to 17 July 2004.
 

 

Translation:  K.N.

Article published in English on: 23-1-2011.

Last update: 23-1-2011.

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