The new archbishop in Cyprus says he is not in favor of public schools having the entire day off on his Name Day, a move welcomed by the education ministry while organized teachers are not so keen on giving up the tradition.
Archbishop Georgios issued a statement this week saying he did not wish for public schools to have a holiday on his Name Day, citing a need to facilitate the work of educators in state schools.
The newly-elected Archbishop made the statement on Monday which fell on Three Hierarchs and Greek Letters Day, another school holiday that celebrates Greek religion and culture.
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou welcomed the primate’s statement, prompting his office to announce a new effort to put together rules and procedures to modify the school calendar and curriculum.
The ministry said it would seize the opportunity following Georgios’ statement to push for 'appropriate consultations' while also preparing a bill for the legislative process
Local theologians are in favor of scrapping the Archbishop’s Name Day altogether, a move supported by Georgios’ predecessor – the late Chrysostomos II, arguing there is no essential purpose to have kids off that day.
“I believe the Archbishop’s Name Day at least ought not to be celebrated, since he himself does not want this, so lessons will take place normally,” Cypriot theologian Theodoros Kyriacou told a local television news program.
But organized educators have failed to move forward with necessary dialogue, saying discussions on both holidays in question need to be planned in a wider context.
The ministry said it would seize the opportunity following Georgios’ statement to push for “appropriate consultations” while also preparing a bill for the legislative process.
“Appropriate consultations will be aimed at making necessary agreements and arrangements so that Three Hierarchs and Greek Letters Day won’t be a school holiday,” the statement read, adding appropriate events instead could take place at school on that day.
An education expert, who spoke on state radio on Thursday morning, said scrapping holidays was not a simple issue, adding that there were already events taking place on Three Hierarchs and Greek Letters Day.
“We have groups of volunteer students who attend church, they show up with national and religious banners,” he said.
But the education ministry is calling for any student events to take place at school.
“It is more appropriate for the school to honor the Letters through its own operation rather than a day off,” the ministry said.