The Greek Orthodox Church has been a strong rival when it came to cremation in Greece with many looking to nearby Bulgaria for cremation services. Greece’s laws may have allowed for cremation in 2006, however the first facility opened in the country this year.
Now that cremation is a viable option, the church has launched an information campaign to discourage the faithful from the practice.
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has expressed its strong opposition to the practice as one that is “contrary to the Church’s principles, traditions and customs.”
A pamphlet was issued on Wednesday and is being distributed in churches around Greece to advise Greek Orthodox Christians against the practice.
The text addressed “to the people” calls on Christians to be aware that the state may be responsible for the passing of laws, however the church is also responsible for informing parishioners of Christian dogma on the issue. The leaflet states that the church “does not force any person to observe it’s traditions. However, it has the right to regard cremation as a service contrary to its principles, traditions and customs.”
Strong language is used to condemn cremation, likening the practice as something that “is not much different from recycling” and describes the method as undignified with the deceased being “burned in the oven” before their bones are “crushed into a mixer”.
The leaflet states that those that choose the option of cremation would “not benefit from the Church’s funeral service.”