The role of the Church as an organizational institution of intercultural education in contemporary Greece
Faculty of Law Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Serres, Greece
The present paper refers to the competencies which the political and, more specifically, the legislative power provides the Church, so that it can play an active role in the various spheres of social life, such as education, and influence them. It mainly concerns the role of the Orthodox Church of Greece as an institution that organizes the intercultural education in contemporary Greece and greek education abroad, as it is enacted by Law 2413/1996.T he paper presents a small part of the outcome of an extensive research of primary research data, such as the text of the above mentioned Law, which has been critically interpreted.
The principal aim of this paper is to interpret the indefinite term "church foundations", in the name of which intercultural schools - that is schools almost exclusively for foreigner pupils or pupils with educational, social and cultural, which means also religious, particularities or special needs - can be founded in Greece, according to the Law. Secondly, this work aims to illustrate comparatively the parallel role that the same Law attributes to the "greek-Orthodox Church", concerning the organization of the greek education abroad.
Based on the above study, a great deal of questions arises. Is the Orthodox Church of Greece prepared to play the significant role that Law grants to it, that is to exert political power and influence social life, by organizing intercultural schools all over the country. Could it do so, with the same concern to succeed, as at the same time it contributes to the organization and support of the greek education abroad? Is it possible that the same Church helps, through intercultural education, people of different origins or religions to live together harmoniously, especially in a country like Greece, where the prevailed religion, according to the greek Constitution, is the Orthodox Christian? Could the Orthodox Church of Greece cooperate with institutions of other religions of non-European origin or other Christian Churches, in order to organize intercultural education in Greece? Could this be the pathway, for the greek society, heading to some kind of religious pluralism?