Saturday 16 December 2017

Patrick Cockburn: Darkness closing in on Greece as cuts lead to social meltdown

Patrick Cockburn in Athens

'THEY stole my gold cross that I usually wear round my neck," says Father Christodoulos, the Greek Orthodox priest at St John the Baptist church in Athens. "I left it in front of the altar to go and have a cup of coffee and when I came back it was gone."

The theft of his cross marked the moment in 2009 when Father Christodoulos began to notice how financial calamity was changing Greek society, the rise in poverty and unemployment leading to an increase in crime and violence in the working-class district where he lives and works.

"I used not to be scared to leave the door open," he says, "but five months ago the warden of a church near here was stabbed trying to stop thieves and last Tuesday somebody destroyed the icons in my church."

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