Posts Tagged “antsemites”

His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim (Mentzelopoulos) of PiraeusI blogged several times on the Catholic bishop Richard Williamson, who was readmitted to the Roman Catholic world some time ago without anyone in the Vatican realizing that he was an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Or perhaps they knew, but just didn’t care, because they were eager to get all of the formerly-schismatic Society of St Pius X back. At any rate, anti-Semitism among Christians is hardly just a Catholic problem. Recently a Greek Orthodox bishop made his anti-Semitism public, during a television interview. The New York Times Lede blog reports on his remarks (WebCite cached article):

Leaders of Greece’s small Jewish community objected on Wednesday to televised remarks by a Greek Orthodox bishop who blamed the country’s financial problems on a conspiracy of Jewish bankers and claimed that the Holocaust was orchestrated by Zionists.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece complained to church authorities about the anti-Semitic remarks made by the Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus during an interview on Greek television on Monday, according to a statement (in Greek) on the group’s Web site.*

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported [cached] that the bishop “said that there is a conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy. He also accused international Zionism of trying to destroy the family unit by promoting one-parent families and same-sex marriages.”

According to the news agency, when the bishop was then asked, “Why do you disagree with Hitler’s policies? If they are doing all this, wasn’t he right in burning them?” he replied: “Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new Empire.” He added that Jewish bankers like “Rockefeller, Rothschild and Soros control the international banking system that controls globalization.”

Video of the Metropolitan’s interview is available (in Greek) from the Mega TV Web site.

The idea that Hitler was himself a Jew, is not really unique to the Metropolitan Seraphim. Others have said something close to it, before … and I assume they will again. I’m not sure how much sense it makes, though; if one is contriving to grant a boon to a group of people, massacring them by the million is hardly the way to accomplish that.

Of course, the Metropolitan Seraphim has since “apologized” for his comments, and tried to “clarify” them, as the Lede blog subsequently reported (cached):

A Greek Orthodox bishop who was criticized by Jewish groups, the Greek government and some coreligionists for blaming Greece’s financial problems on a conspiracy of Jewish bankers and claiming that the Holocaust was orchestrated by Zionists issued a statement on Thursday in which he denied that he was anti-Semitic but also equated Zionism to “Satanism.”

His non-apology apology is basically a protest that he loves the Jewish people, it’s just Zionism specifically that he objects to. This too is a variant on an old dodge that anti-Semites frequently use. In the Metropolitan’s case, though, it fails … because many of his initial complaints were about “Jews,” and “Jewish bankers,” not about “Zionists.” His claim that Zionism is Satanism is, likewise, his own variation on a common theme among Christian anti-Semites; they consider it a profane and anti-Christian movement, an attempt to control or subvert Christianity. (It was the aforementioned Bishop Williamson who revealed the reason why so many Christians are anti-Semitic, as I blogged some time ago.)

The only thing missing from Seraphim’s otherwise-typical non-apology apology is the claim that some of his best friends are Jewish. (If that had been included, I would not for one moment believe it to be true.)

At any rate, the idea that Jews are somehow the tools of Satan, working with him against Christians and God’s righteous Church, is a complaint that goes back almost to the very beginning of Christianity. That it persists even now, in light of the horrors of World War II and the Third Reich — not to mention their willing accomplices in territories they occupied — shows how very hard it will be for Christianity to purge itself of the poison of anti-Semitism that runs in its metaphorical veins. Some Christians have disavowed the Metropolitan and his anti-Semitic comments, to be sure, but I’ll be interested in what his defenders may say, and how they say it. My guess is that they will adopt the same sort of tactic he did … i.e. to say that he was misunderstood, or “taken out of context,” or that it’s just Zionism he dislikes and not Jews as a whole, etc.

Photo credit: Orthodoxwiki.

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