Guest Post: Updates on forced indoctrination case in Greek school

Guest post by Simon Davis

This is an update to my guest post from yesterday. You can read it here for background.

Earlier today I received an update from the Greek Atheist Union which is tracking this case very closely.

On January 25, several Greek MP’s from the opposition social democratic SYRIZA party submitted an official inquiry[1] to the Education Minister specifically citing this case, naming the school in the Glika Nera suburb, and even included the statement by Principal Kanias about “following the law of Christ”.

Last week on February 14th, there was an official response where the ministry[2] 1) states that all schools have been made aware of the exemption process and 2) reiterates that students exempted from religious instruction are to be placed in an alternate class and not to receive absences.

As satisfactory as the response by the ministry may read at first glance, it actually resolves very little. It is more or less a repetition of a response they gave a few months back for a similar case when a different principal in Athens proper (who happened to be a theologian) refused to exempt a sixteen year old student. Despite the ministry’s response, no official action was taken and the student was required to attend religious studies class against his will and that of his parents[3].

To make matters worse, Principal Kanias is now publicly referring to the eighth grade student as “Judas” and still marking him absent every time he does not attend religious studies class. Despite the fact that not complying with ministry policy is a disciplinary offence, there has been no indication that any official action is being taken to require Kanias to comply.

It is therefore imperative that the pressure on the Greek government be maintained. We have gathered roughly 700 signatures so far out of a target of 1000. Once this target is reached the list of signers will be delivered to the Greek Minister of Education by the Greek Atheist Union.


[1] PDF in Greek from the parliament website

[2] PDF in Greek from the parliament website

[3] Greek newspaper article


  1. Azucena says

    I have the same problem with the Gymnasio (High School) in Glyka Nera. My husband and I signed an statement declaring our wish to stop religious education for our 13 year-old daughter. The Religion teacher said it was unacceptable even when she said she is a catholic. I talked to the principal who asked me the reason why we want this. I said it’s our right. She says I need a reason. Ok then, my daughter it’s baptized as a catholic but even if she wasn’t we are not believers so we don’t want this imposition. She said she would look into it and that was it. My daughter is obliged to follow orthodox religion lessons.

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