Greek Church Promotes 10-Point Face Lift for the Olympics

( [email protected] ) Feb 19, 2004 11:48 PM EST

In lieu of the upcoming Olympics in Athens, Greece’s Orthodox Church sent out a 10-point letter to its churches to “highlight the religious image” of the ancient city during its spotlight.

"Tourists respect other people's traditions, I believe they will be interested in the Greek Orthodox history and we should be ready to offer them what they want," Father Epifanios Economou said Wednesday.

As part of the 10 point letter, the Greek Orthodox Church Archbishop Christodoulos recommended that clergy be dress properly, address visitors softly and ring bells sparingly, and churches be tidied up and have brochures ready for thousands of tourists arriving for the Games. The Archbishop also asked churches to extend opening hours and stock up on translations of Greek Orthodox books and Byzantine music CDs.

Foreign language speakers should also be ready to help tourists. "Your manner to foreigners should be impeccable. Any recommendation for improper attire or behavior should be made in a polite way," he said in the letter.

In a separate letter Christodoulos asked Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis to help promote Greece's Orthodox history. The Church represents about 97 percent of Greeks.

"The Holy Synod of Greece decided to ask you to show the necessary attention and promote, along with classical antiquity monuments, the Byzantine ones of the city of Athens," he said.