The Orthodox Metropolis of Thiva and Livadia in central Greece earlier this week denounced cremation and threatened to refuse burial services for those opting for the practice.
According to press release by the Metropolis, “it is unthinkable for conscious Orthodox Christians to refuse burial and choose cremation.”
Thirteen years after cremation was legalized in Greece, the country’s first such facility has recently opened in Ritsona, north of Athens. The delay was mainly due to the vehement objection of the Orthodox Church.
“Those who choose cremation have alienated themselves from the belief and practice of the Church,” the statement reads. It adds that the clergy “cannot agree to carry out funeral services for those who consciously decided to use the method.”
The newly-established crematorium was built by a private company at a cost of over four million euros ($4.4 million), after years of fruitless efforts by municipal authorities to create a similar facility in the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki.