Saturday, 22nd January 2011.
letter addressed to the European Parliament's
Commission President José Manuel Barroso by the Holy
Synod of the Church of Greece has been sent in
regard to the publication of a calendar that is
destined for children and includes all existing
holidays except for the Christian ones.
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has
been informed, albeit with an unpleasant surprise, that,
with funding by the European Union, a new calendar
addressed to children has been issued and circulated, in
which are noted all Islamic, Hindu and other religions'
holidays, but without any mention whatsoever of
This has given rise to many questions, given that the
majority of the European Union's citizens belongs to the
major Christian confessions. How is it possible
for European Union publications to have underrated and
ignored the faith and the tradition of hundreds of
millions of Europeans?
role of Christianity in the shaping of Europe is an
incontrovertible fact. In the calendar there is a
mention that it is an "inexhaustible source of
information about the European Union" and yet, despite
this claim, every mention of Christianity has been
can we claim education for the youth of the European
Union by denying a religion that has contributed toward
the founding of the European Union and its unity?
Christian faith holds first place among the religions of
Europe. It is unthinkable, that such a matter of great
importance in the lives of European citizens and a
common faith in the Gospel values and principles should
be thus doubted.
Christian faith, more than being just a religious fact,
is also the contributor and the shaper of the cultural
History and the spiritual identity of the crushing
majority of citizens of the European Union's
are furthermore obliged to remind those responsible, of
the Christian roots of Europe as recorded in History and
also as admitted by leading European scholars such as
Thomas Elliott, Paul Valery, e.a..
Besides, the first founders of the then E.E.C. (European
Economic Community) - and specifically, Konrad Adenauer,
Jean Monnet, Paul Henri Spaak, Alcide de Gasperi e.a. -
had placed as their clear-cut goal the creation of a
peaceful and democratic union of States, based on the
principles of the Gospel.
Christianity, together with the classical Hellenic
civilization and Roman (or more correctly,
Byzantine-Roman) Justice, have been the deposits from
which Europe has drawn its values of Democracy, its
justice system, its respect for the human person,
solidarity, social justice and tolerance.
Christian holidays such as the Nativity ("Christmas")
and Easter - which have been omitted by the Calendar -
are celebrated all over Europe by many people - even
are certain that you will proceed to take the
appropriate steps to rectify this very serious error and
will give the necessary instructions so that this
Calendar is not placed in circulation, but instead, a
new one be printed, in which the Christian holidays also
be clearly mentioned.
This will be in compliance with Article 17 of the Lisbon
Treaty, by which the European Union acknowledges the
role of the Churches in society and civilization and
invites the major religious communities to a continuing
and open dialogue.
take this opportunity to wish you good health and for
your labours to find progress through the Lord, during
the New Year 2011, and we remain,
Archmandrite Mark Vasilakis
wrote that Christianity has "fallen into the limbo of
European Union, meanwhile, calls the omission of
Christian holidays on a calendar distributed to millions
of students an error.
book was designed to act as an educational calendar for
students, allowing them to write their homework and
activities. At the bottom of each page, are printed
inspirational quotes, information or comments for
While Christian holidays are missing, Sikh Baisakhi-Day,
Yom Kippur, and the Muslim holiday Aid-el-Kebir remain
the bottom of each page of this 'class journal' are
small quotes or information devoted to various subjects
and perhaps less known to European students. Some of
them sometimes refer to cultural events, historical and
religious...This approach led, without any deliberate
intent, in the absence of references to events and
important religious festivals that are very much a part
of European heritage, particularly...Christmas and its
importance in the Christian religion."
says the Christian holidays will be put back on the
calendar for future printings.