Metropolitan Gerasimos Responds to Controversy Over Funeral of 17-Year-Old Girl in Crete


Metropolitan Gerasimos of Petra and Chersonissos has addressed the backlash following his decision not to perform the usual funeral rites for 17-year-old Nikoleta in Crete, which sparked widespread reactions.

In a statement to Cretalive, Metropolitan Gerasimos explained the Church's position, emphasising its love and concern for all individuals. "The Church loves the whole world and does not want to set a wrong example. Not performing the usual funeral rite is done pedagogically by the Church. This does not mean that we do not have love or pain for the child who is leaving... Let society ask itself what is the reason why 17-year-old children are driven to suicide. This is what we should be concerned about," he stated.

He clarified that the Church followed its established rules and decisions, saying, "We didn't do anything that was outside the rules and decisions of the Church, that doesn't mean that we don't have love or pain for the child who is leaving. That's why what was celebrated on Saturday, in the cemetery in Mocha, was the prayer of the Church and the forgiving blessing, which is the essence of the funeral. At the trisagion, the blessing was read. It is the wish of the Church that the soul of the deceased may rest and rank with the Saints and Righteous. It is not that we did not pray."

Metropolitan Gerasimos stressed the pedagogical intention behind the Church's stance, saying, "Why does the Church and the Canons stipulate that there is no ordinary funeral rite? Because it loves all the people and does not want to set a wrong example. That is, to children who have similar calculations and similar behaviours, which are too many, we will not say to them 'kill yourself and no harm done.' God is love. Do you do the same?"

He urged society to reflect on the underlying issues leading to such tragedies, stating, "The Church comes pedagogically and says that we do not celebrate the funeral to show that one cannot deprive life and especially one's own life because it is the end. Judgment, of course, belongs to God alone. I don't know if you can understand the theological background and content. But don't tell me that anyone loves people more than the Church. And let society ask itself what is the reason that drives these 17-year-olds to suicide. That should be our concern more than anything else."

In conclusion, Metropolitan Gerasimos reiterated that the Church prays for all, including those who take their own lives, who are subject to God's ultimate judgment. He emphasised that the non-performance of a funeral ceremony is a long-standing pedagogical approach established by the Church to guide its followers according to its doctrines.

(Source: to Vima)

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