Friday, October 10, 2008

Ode on a Grecian Urn: Is Cremation Coming to Greece?
The approval of the law allowing cremation in Greece paves the way for the first incineration facilities to be built within two years

After a long campaign by community groups (mostly Muslim, Buddhist and Protestant) and humanitarian activists, the legislation allowing cremation in Greece was passed in March 2006. As a presidential decree, though, it required the approval of the country's highest administrative court to become law. That approval came on September 25 of this year.
Commenting on the approval of the presidential decree, Thanasis Kafezas, of the municipality's Cemeteries Department, said: "We find ourselves one step away from the establishment of cremation facilities. In around one-and-a-half years, after the environment and public works ministry has determined the last laws, the City of Athens will have its first crematorium."
Cremation is becoming increasingly accepted within this country, with up to 500 Greek Orthodox Christians opting for the practice despite the psychological trauma and costs associated with travelling abroad, mostly to Bulgaria and Germany.
Famously, Maria Callas was cremated in Paris and had her ashes scattered in the Aegean and, last year, renowned winemaker Yiannis Boutaris carried out his wife Athina's last wish to be cremated - an experience which, he said, left him feeling that the Church had treated his wife as if she had committed suicide.
After taking his wife's body to Bulgaria for the cremation, Boutaris struggled to find a Greek priest to carry out Orthodox burial rites and a blessing in this country, eventually finding one in Nymphaio (a village in northern Greece) who would "take the risk".
The hope for many Greeks is that the existence of a crematorium will soften the Church's to now staunch position against the practice for its followers. from Athens News, for full text visit

1 comment:

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