Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos II expressed the view that Islam and its citizens, was not a religion, but a political ideology and its adherents were people of war, during an interview on Open TV.
According to the prelate of the Greek Orthodox Church, who was interviewed on the occasion of the bicentenary celebrations of the Greek uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821, “they [Muslims] are the people of expansion, this is a characteristic of Islam.” Referring to Mohammed the Conqueror, he said that he had Greek advisers, while he had to unite the whole Christian community and entrust it to the Patriarch, and so Gennadius Scholarius was chosen as the Patriarch of Constantinople when it fell in 1453.
Archbishop Ieronymos also referred to the key role played by the Church in the national struggle for freedom during the Revolution of 1821. “There was no sign of revolution that did not start with a clergyman,” said Archbishop Ieronymos. He went on to describe the documented incidents involving archdeacon Athanasios Diakos and spoke about the clergy who participated in the War of Independence while explaining why there were crosses on all the flags of the Revolution.
Following his statement, two Islamic Muftis from Xanthi voiced their dissatisfaction calling the comments “offensive” to their religious sensibilities and not corresponding to reality.
Following the Islamic Mufti’s responses, the press office of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens released a statement saying: “The Archbishop and our Church respect in practice all the known religions.”