Big, Fat Greek Weddings for Visitors to be Banned in Greece by Orthodox Church
Bishop Frangiskos of Syros, Santorini and Crete said that Greek "tourist" Weddings are to be no longer permitted by the Orthodox Church citing the fact the clergy do "not benefit" from such ceremonies.
The influential Bishop is against commercialization of this kind of Greek Wedding. This ban cannot legally affect civil weddings carried out by Municipalities as they derive much needed revenue for local public coffers. The Orthodox Church continues to strongly influence decisions however by all levels of government in this secular democracy. Therefore, anyone planning such a wedding should consult the town hall where they plan to get married - just in case.
Athens - A Greek, Catholic bishop said on July 14 that tourists could no longer be married in some of Greece's top Aegean island destinations, including Santorini and Crete, in reaction to a growing trade in "wedding with a view" packages offered by travel agents.
"We have taken the decision to bar (all weddings) to protect the sacrament's holiness... and to prevent its commercialisation," Bishop Frangiskos of Syros, Santorini and Crete told private Flash Radio.
In the last two years, hundreds of couples from the United States, Britain, Australia and China have tied the knot on Greek islands renowned for scenic beauty and stunning sunsets, Eleftheros Typos daily reported.
Around 500 were held every year on Santorini alone, the paper said.
"They ask for weddings with a nice view or on the beach. When we say it cannot be done, they offer to pay.
"What are we, traders of ceremonies? They should forget about these things," said Bishop Frangiskos.
In a letter to vicars last month, the bishop noted that tourist weddings "offer no spiritual benefit" and are often "flippantly" conducted with doubtful documents.
"On one occasion the couple turned up drunk. The strangest things happen," the bishop said.
Travel brochures advertise weddings on the island of Mykonos for €1 099 while arrangements for Santorini and the Cretan capital of Iraklio cost €450 and €250 respectively, he said.
Other specialised websites offer packages of between €2 000 and €4 000 including witnesses, donkeys to transport the newlyweds and a complimentary bottle of French champagne.
"The priests see none of this money," Bishop Frangiskos said. "We do not ask for money to hold the sacrament."
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