Two Greek Orthodox Churches have offered to cover all funeral expenses for late Greek migrant, Anastasios Angelopoulos, whose body remains in the Townsville hospital’s mortuary, since his passing last June, due to -what appears to be- an intransigent bureaucracy.
“I spoke to Rev. Alexios Kapandritis earlier in the week and he confirmed that the Greek Parish Community of Saints Theodore, Townsville together with the Parish of St. John the Baptist, Cairns will proceed to cover all of my father’s funeral costs,” said Mr Angelo Angelopoulos. Following his father’s death, Mr Angelopoulos sought financial assistance from the Coroner under the Queensland Government’s Burial Assistance Scheme, as he was not in a financial position to cover his father’s funeral costs.
In his application, the 60-year-old Queensland resident also provided evidence to the Government that it is a requirement under Canon Law in the Eastern Orthodox religion to hold a church service prior to a burial service.
Mr Angelopoulos was granted financial assistance on the condition that he didn’t conduct a private viewing and a church service, despite there being no additional cost to the State for these apart from the cost of transporting the deceased to and from the church.
A law student himself, the 60-year-old son alleges that the Queensland Government is engaging in religious discrimination and is in breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld). Together with Human Rights and Civil Rights lawyer, Klaire Coles, Mr Angelopoulos has lodged a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ).
“My intention was never to beg for money, but to raise awareness about this matter which appears to be a case of religious discrimination that borders on disguised racism,” added Mr Angelopoulos.
“I would like to express my gratitude towards the two Greek Orthodox Churches for offering to cover my father’s funeral costs, but I am even more determined now to continue to fight for the rights of the people that don’t have a voice in Australia. This is very much a public interest issue and a human rights issue irrespective of religion, financial status or cultural background.
“It’s time to address it,” he concluded.
The funeral service of late Anastasios Angelopoulos who migrated to Australia with his wife Lygeri in 1957, will be conducted next Friday, November 16, 2018 at the Greek Parish Community of Saints Theodore, in Townsville.