Athens News Agency
29 March 1999

Archbishop Christodoulos on Saturday blasted NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia, saying Orthodox Serbs had been wronged.

Archbishop Christodoulos called on Greeks to uphold the country's Christian tradition and rally round their spiritual leaders following what he called "an international injustice" perpetrated against the Serbs.

Greeks had shown their outrage at the bombings in Yugoslavia, taking a stand against the great powers that went beyond expediency or material gain, he said.

Archbishop Christodoulos was speaking during a visit to Thessaloniki where a large crowd applauded his remarks on the airstrikes, made during several addresses.

The archbishop also repeatedly underlined the indissoluble link between church and state, implying that trying to sever the connection would lead to destruction of the state.

Attending a ceremony in Thessaloniki to welcome Archbishop Christodoulos was Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Mr. Venizelos, like Archbishop Christodoulos, focused on Yugoslavia, saying that Greece had to maintain a fine balance in its dual roles as a member of Europe and of the Balkans.

In that spirit, Greece had acted as Yugoslavia's diplomatic representative, Mr. Venizelos said.

Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday launched stinging attacks for the second straight day on NATO's military offensive against Yugoslavia.

Saying he had information that Orthodox monasteries in the Balkan country had been bombed on Saturday night, Archbishop Christodoulos said: "(NATO members) hate the Orthodox ... They hear about the Orthodox and they bristle because we are not easily sub jugated."

The archbishop was speaking during a visit to Thessaloniki.

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