Greece Constitution, Religion, and Education

Greece Education

Constitutional order. – From 1833 to 1924 Greece was a kingdom; the republic was established on 24 March 1924 and the new constitution was adopted (3 June 1927). At the head of the republic is the president, elected by the National Assembly every five years. In his absence or incapacity, he is replaced by the President of the Senate; he enjoys political irresponsibility, and in criminal matters (high treason, willful violation of the laws) is judged by the Senate. He is the supreme magistrate of the state and head of the executive power; promulgates the laws, can dissolve the Chamber, with the consent of the Senate, and suspend its work, represents the state in the international field, is at the head of the armed forces, but cannot assume command of them; he can grant pardons and amnesties for political crimes only; for common crimes, amnesty does not exist in Greece. The government is appointed by the president, on the proposal of the Prime Minister and must enjoy the confidence of the Chamber; the ministers assume, with their countersignature, full responsibility for the acts of the head of state. Legislative power belongs to the two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies is made up of representatives (maximum 250) elected every four years by direct, universal and secret suffrage; citizenship, the age of 25 and the possession of an active vote are required, but there are some cases of ineligibility and incompatibility. The Senate is made up of 120 senators (9/10 elected by direct suffrage, 1/12 designated by the national assembly and the others by professional associations); the requirements are identical to those for deputies, but the age of 40 is required. The mandate lasts for nine years; the senators are partially renewed 1/3 for three years. The two Chambers also exercise control over the government and decide on general affairs; they only meet in a national assembly to deliberate on the most important issues (election of the president, modification of the constitution, etc.). The Chamber has more extensive powers than the Senate. Judicial power is exercised by the courts which also examine the constitutionality of laws. Citizens are guaranteed ample freedoms; family, work and education are protected. Administrative justice is entrusted to the Council of State; in financial matters the highest body is the Court of Auditors. The system of decentralization and autonomy is in force for the local administration, under the high control of the state.

Religion. – In Greece the huge majority of the population belongs to the Orthodox Church, whose organization is headed by an archbishop (Athens), 88 metropolitans and bishops, about 7000 priests. There are about 300 Orthodox monasteries with about 5000 monks and nuns (for this see Orthodox, church).

The Catholic hierarchy of the Byzantine rite was re-established in Greece by Pius X with the short Auctus in aliqua of 11 June 1911, and the jurisdiction of the ordinary was extended on 21 December 1925 to all of Greece. The ordinary of the Byzantine rite resides in Athens; there is also the hieratic school (seminary) of John the Theologian with about twenty students. There are 9 priests, 1 deacons, 3 churches and chapels, a female congregation of the Pammakáristos with about ten nuns, an orphanage and a girls’ school. In addition to that of the Byzantine rite there is also a Catholic ordinary of the Armenian rite for Greece, residing in Athens; a pro-cathedral with 8 other parish churches or chapels, a dozen priests and a male convent depend on it. The Protestants of the various confessions, mostly foreigners, are very few. The most numerous Jewish communities are those of Thessaloniki (70,000), Ioannina, Corfu.

Education. – Education is placed under the supervision of the state; it is administered according to a decentralization system through special councils at the Ministry of Public Education. Primary education lasts six years and is compulsory; it is given at the expense of the state. The schools are mixed: anaphalbetism is decreasing. Middle education is divided into classical and vocational. Until recently, middle schools were divided into two grades, namely “Greek schools”, lasting three years, and “gymnasiums” lasting four years, but from 1929 they were unified into a single gymnasium lasting six years. In recent years, vocational education with a practical nature has had a great boost; technical institutes, schools of commerce, agriculture, fine arts were founded, of theology, etc. Higher education is provided by the universities of Athens (founded in 1837) and of Thessaloniki (1926), the polytechnic, the high school of commerce, the high school of agriculture and the high schools and academies of fine arts, the Odeo, etc. In addition to the license, a further examination is required for access to high school; to avoid a surplus of professionals for each faculty, the number of enrolled students is strictly determined. There are also various institutions for the advancement of sciences and arts (asteroscope, museums, society, etc.). Private education is not very developed in Greece. There are various foreign schools of lower, middle and higher education (schools of archeology, etc.).

Greece Education