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American Greek Orthodox Church Condemns Influential Bishop's Anti-Semitic Remarks

ADL Praises Demetrois for Strong Response

Posted: December 29, 2010

December 29, 2010 The Greek Orthodox Church of America has strongly denounced the anti-Semitic remarks of an influential Greek Orthodox bishop who suggested that former Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler "was an instrument of world Zionism."

"In response to the recent anti-Semitic rhetoric that has been unfortunately used publicly by a Hierarch of the church of Greece, the Holy Archdiocese of America condemns any such language, and expresses its sadness that these hurtful words should have been spoken at all," said the statement from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, headquartered in New York City.

In a December interview with Greece's Mega TV, Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus reportedly said that, "Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new empire."

The Anti-Defamation League wrote on December 23 to His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, expressing concern about the incident and calling on church leaders to speak out.

Demetrios, the Archbishop of America, who was copied on the letter, responded with a letter agreeing the remarks were anti-Semitic and indicating that the American Greek Orthodox Archdiocese had already issued a press release condemning the statement.

The Archdiocese's statement also affirmed its "longstanding and positive relations with the Jewish community here and abroad."

"We very much appreciate Archbishop Demetrios' clear and direct response to anti-Semitism," said Rabbi Eric Greenberg, ADL Director of Interfaith Affairs. "It is crucial for good people to stand together and condemn hate speech or fictional conspiracy theories directed at any faith or ethnic group.

"We have also asked the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew to denounce the anti-Semitic rhetoric, and we look forward to his response, as we believe no sanction can be given to such hateful language."

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