11 June 2008, 13:50
Romanian clerics create trade unions to protect themselves from their executives
Bucharest, June 11, Interfax - Priests of the Romanian Patriarchate come from different regions of the country to join trade unions to protect their own interests from the church management.
In particular, some time ago, 20 priests filed documents to Iasi court for incorporation of the "Holy Virgin Protection" trade union. Later, 35 clerics from Oltenia province declared the official incorporation of the independent "Good Pastor" trade union and their intent to hold a strike action aimed at protecting their rights.
"There is an abyss between the church hierarchy and the priests who serve in churches. We are put under pressure, and have already lost some of our members," priest Nikolay State, vice-president of Good Pastor, said in his interview to the Gyndyl newspaper.
He also said that Oltenian priests were seeking to create their trade union for several years. The main objective of trade union members is to oppose low wages of priests and support their right to make decisions related to their parish without prior approval of the diocese.
Besides, trade union members are seeking for the right to run for any position in administrative bodies without prior consent of their executives.
The Metropolitan of Oltenia, however, warned the priests, who had established the trade union, of their possible defrocking.
"There is the principal incompatibility of priests' servicing and trade union activity, because the priest's mission is to unite people with each other and the God, and any trade union activity involves confrontation and separatism," the official message of the metropolitan reads.