Schools in Greece have always remained closed during the 30 January feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs (Treis Ierarches), the patron saints of education – St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian and St John Chrysostom.

A statement by the Education Ministry on Monday announced that the annual holiday, which only applies to education institutions, will now be a school day. The statement released to schools gave the instruction that the patron saints of education be commemorated within the regular school hours.

The new rules apply to both primary and secondary schools in both the private and public sectors.

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The Three Holy Hierarchs were highly influential bishops of the early church who played pivotal roles in shaping Christian theology.