Greek oral orthodoxy and the eurozone crisis: a parable

In Greece, it seems blasphemy is a pretty serious crime – with many forms codified in the legal system. It extends even unto those who do God’s work, for example Elder Geron Paisios – a long-dead ascetic monk who is nevertheless still a very popular religious figure in the Hellenic Republic. A 27-year-old Greek bloke found himself arrested by the police for mocking Paisios by using the name “Gerontas Pastitios” when referring to an equally popular pasta dish.

It’s hard to see how one might otherwise order it from a menu, apart from adopting the actors’ approach to Macbeth by calling it ‘the Scottish Play’. But then, saying “I’ll have the monkfish” might order you something entirely different. Either way, one would think that Greek cops had something more pressing to do, like catching tax evaders or protecting Troikanauts from the popular will. Certainly, when the triad’s representatives were last in town, I’m told oaths were rife. As one local blogger recorded it:

“There! There!”, “Here they come!” the protesters shouted when the car with the Troikans arrived at the Ministry. As they could not enter the building with the car, they got out and started to walk close to the wall in order to secure a safety distance to the angry crowd.

“Go F***”, Motherf*****”, “Assh***” were some of the “French” the protesters shouted at the men in black who looked rather confused. As they couldn’t not understand what the people holding Greek flags were shouting and they had wore a rather silly smile on their face.

None of them were arrested for this, the obscenities being entirely secular. But had anyone yelled “May Paisios fill your worthless arse”, the police would’ve assumed the blasphemer had been talking about saints, not spaghetti: he’d have been in the paddy wagon faster than you could say calamari moussaka.

Calling bad language ‘French’ seems to be a universal trait, for here in England we used to say “Pardon my French” when uttering oaths. Having heard an ouvrier doing some work in our house there three years ago refer to a spare part as “Oh quel con le merde, quel merde, merde, merde le con!” I suppose I can understand why. But the logical thing to say, when taking the Lord’s name in vain, I fancy, would be “Pardon my Greek”. Greek law allows imprisonment of up to two years for “one who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God,” including the provision that, should the Beak be in a foul mood, a penalty of not more than €3,000 may be added to the mix. I’d imagine what happens is that the Judge gives some poor devil 18 months for saying “Lordy Lordy” or such like, and the defendant goes “Jesus Christ, eighteen months?” this counting as contempt of Court.

But if it’s bad news to use your mouth to defile God, the Greek Orthodox Church is also keen that it shouldn’t be used to play the pink oboe either. Last week, the Bishop of Piraeus held forth on oral sex, describing it as “an unacceptably vulgar practice” and quoting recent research suggesting a link between fellatio and cancer. The cleric declared that he was “not possessed by any dastard motives of extreme or fundamentalist disposal, neither of homophobic syndrome”, he just didn’t think it was altogether right.

The chap’s point seemed to be that if God had wanted people to suck willies, he’d have stuck a lollipop in our groins. And he rounded off his denunciation with talk of “the frightening tragedy when body organs are not used as destinated”. I rather hope mine is destined for more of this sort of thing, but you can never be sure. In the meantime, it would’ve been more apt had the good Bishop railed against Brussels for anal sodomy.

I remain indebted to Greek correspondents who keep sending me stuff both serious and hilarious about the Greek plight.

23 thoughts on “Greek oral orthodoxy and the eurozone crisis: a parable

  1. You have to be careful about what you say about the territorial integrity of the Greek state too. A Greek version of Mr Salmond would be in chokey.

    In Turkey you can get banged up for “insulting Turkishness”

  2. “one who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God,”
    What God?
    All I can say is, I can believe in a Creator and the only law of the Universe is, do what you will but do no harm.
    Every crime(that is a crime), is covered by this law.

  3. Again, it’s the basic difference ‘twixt our English legal system over the years and the one(s) enjoyed by Johnny Foreigner – generally foisted upon them by some erstwhile despot or other.

    Although our powers-that-be are rapidly improving their despot emulation (subtly at first), under our English legal system, everything is permitted except that which is specifically proscribed.

    Cross the Channel, and you will find that everything is proscribed, except that which is specifically permitted.

    Whilst this is obviously a very general statement, and an oversimplification of the tortuous labyrinth that is modern law, it is true to say that is a basic premise upon which ours – and most of their – legal systems have developed.

    Certainly in the past, the English have been ungovernable and contemptuous of authority, being a stubborn and pig-headed race who will not do anything just because authority decrees it. However, post-WWII all of this started to change with the creation of a vast welfare state which removed responsibility for themselves from an increasing sector of the community, creating a vast client community for the largesse of Labour – always with other people’s money, of course.

    Added to that the huge inappropriate increases in immigration to further grow the always-vote-labour sector, and you have a diminishing sector who work for a living being forced to support a voracious balooning sector who just vote for a living.

    The pig-headed nature of the English has been at least severely diluted – and is probably very threatened by the complacency of the huge Labour client sector.

    This sort of rubbish legislation could well – nay, WILL – be foisted upon us in the future, the ruling elite having ‘bought’ the cussedness of the average Englishman.

    What a shame they will get away with it.

    • In Russia everything is forbidden whilst in the Phillipines (under a combined Napoleonic/Anglo Saxon code) everything is permitted especially those things specifically proscibed!

    • The net recipient masses are too complacent. They have no idea where their income comes from, just that it’s ‘the welfare’. ‘It’s their right.’ If they had the least idea of how tenuous is the grip of the UK on its declining financial base, they would begin to ask themselves what happens if funds start to get restricted. And I don’t mean zero increases, but real cuts. Rights can be varied, they are not set in stone and ultimately depend on the availability of resources. No political party has ever made an explicit promise to look after welfare recipients, come what may. That should be cause for thought and perhaps (where it’s possible) a move towards more independence of government wealth transfers.

  4. An insulting propaganda against the subjective nature of faith by a smug ignorant 27 year old is simply that and nothing more .

    Elder Paisios’ prophecies are widely accepted in Greece and this is no reason to attack the religious beliefs of millions of Greeks simply because one disagrees ! (the core of these prophecies describe a specific sequence of events during WW3)

    In fact what he did is the definition of fascism = an organised and methodical assault on the beliefs and the way of life that different parts of a society choose to follow ! ANY LACK OF TOLERANCE is Fascism, and the ignorant young Greek managed to become what he claims to fight against

    Interestingly enough he also managed to prove, that by being a devout atheist he is a strong believer in a reverse version of what he accused the “others” to be guilty of.

    It is absolutely hilarious but through his ignorance, he acted both as a fascist and a devout fanatic !!!!! … a tragic irony !!! :) :)

  5. This is exactly what the Egyptians have lately been punting at the UN with regard to blasphemy as it applies to the ‘religion of peace’. If Cairo’s demands were adopted and forced on the rest of the world it would put an end to Charlie Hebdo, Danish cartoonists and eventually all freedom of speech. The Greeks should be required to recant on this one.

  6. I had never heard of Paisios, and the whole thing is part of a series of provocations to ensure that euorskeptics (or eurofighters) are in disarray. The leftists (they have euroskeptics and eurodeniers in their midst are up in arms in anti-fascist mode — by “fascists” they refer to the right wing, nationalistic but also eursosceptic Hrysi Avgi, and less the Green Scum peddling Green S..t). Hrysi Agvi has made an issue with illegal aliens that alienates the leftists. As if illegal aliens are anything more than just that, illegal aliens. But it has become an isssue, totally bogus and moot , that has polarized two otherwise euroskeptic groups at each others throats. Religious types (yes we do heve religious types) have not gotten too involved in this. They have been euroskpetic for other reasons. Insult a religous figure and throw the religious types in yet another moot point tizzy. This is totally artificial and carefully cultivated by some m…. f…ing collection of pissants (now, let’s see if I can excite pissant lovers), who are nothing more than the eurokrats (or eurokrauts, as the case may be, or their movers and shakers) in disguise. Planned insanity at a time of decay.

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