CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

The Legal Treatment of Scientology’s Church in Greece


For the 2001 International Conference: The Spiritual Supermarket

Religious Pluralism and Globalization in the 21st Century:

The Expanding European Union and Beyond

London School of Economics

19 - 22 April 2001

by Kyriakos N. Kyriazopoulos

Assis. Professor of Ecclesiastic Law

in the Law Department, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki


A. The dissolution of Association "Center of Applied Philosophy of Greece" (K.E.F.E)

A.1. The Purpose of K.E.F.E

A.2. The reasons of the Courts for the dissolution of the Association

A.2.a. Dissolution of the Association due to supposed deviation from its Purpose

A.2.b. Dissolution of the Association on the basis of anti-cult movement’s theories and

more specifically of lucrative activity exercise

B. The criminal process of K.E.F.E’s Members: Collective criminal responsibility?

C. The Foundation of Greek Church of Scientology: Its self-determination and the pending

recognition as a religion by the State

A Conclusion



About fifty years ago a new religion, the Scientology’s Church, has appeared. This fact is not strange. In the human history, new religions come at times out and they will keep doing so. Science and Philosophy cannot so far, cover all the fields of the individual’s personality. They cannot answer in a generally acceptable way to man’s existential problems. Where does he come from? Is there a meaning of life and what is it? Is there any reality after death and what happens with the man after he dies? The answer to these questions coming either from the Philosophy, or the religion, shapes man’s attitude vis-à-vis the life (Ethics), vis-à-vis his fellowmen (Anthropology), vis-à-vis the world (Cosmology), vis-à-vis the eventual existence of metaphysic powers (Theology or religious teaching).

The answers men give to the previous questions are not uniform but various. None can claim infallibility, even if subjectively one can believe the opposite in considering his life. Suppressing the different styles of life, specifically when it comes from the State has painful results on the development of the individual’s personality. Only in the last four centuries of the history of humankind, has it become common place, mainly to the people of the west, that if the State adopts the religious attitude of life or the belief in instrumentalizing the religion, it does not respect man’s dignity. This is due to rejecting of necessity all the other stances of life existing in the society, religious or non-religious thereby intending to impose through the use of the tools of state power and its ideological and material brachium, the stance of life it prefers.

The existence in a certain society of a prevailing religion having monotheistic character too, makes it possible to foster a non-tolerant stance of the State against different religions and beliefs. This may be due to the instrumentalization of the religion by the State or the instrumentalization of the State by the religion or to their mutual instrumentalization. A case of mutual instrumentalization has been shown by the legal treatment of the Scientology’s Church in Greece. The same had happened in the past too, with other minority religions and particularly with the Jehovah’s Christian martyrs. But in our time one would expect that after the international promotion and protection of human rights, the phenomenon of mixture of the State with the Orthodox Church of Greece to stop having malign implications on minority religions and that it would have been limited to their internal relations. But this has not been verified in the recent case of Scientology’s Church.

In this Paper, I will present a critical analysis of the affairs of the dissolution of Association "Center of Applied Philosophy of Greece" (K.E.F.E.), which expressed Scientology in Greece in the recent past, and of the criminal process of some of Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s members. I will also treat the pending recognition of the Scientology’s Church as a religion by the State.


Α.1. The Purpose of Κ.Ε.F.Ε

The Church of Scientology in Greece chose the form of an association for its foundation, which, according to Greek Civil Code, is a legal person of private law. Initially in 1979, the association was founded under the name "Foundation of Dianetics and Philosophy of Greece" [1]. Next in 1983, the association was founded under the name "Center of Applied Philosophy of Greece" (Κ.Ε.F.Ε).

According to Article 1 of its statutes [2], the purpose of the Association was the presentation, teaching and diffusion of educational and philosophic principles of Dianetics and Scientology as developed by Ron Lafayette Hubbard.

The Prefect of Athens as supervising Authority of the Associations, politically pressed by circles and individuals belonging to the anti-cult movement, applied to the Court of First Instance of Athens for the dissolution of the association. He argued that Κ.Ε.F.Ε aimed primarily at a purpose different from that defined by its Statutes and secondarily that its purpose and more generally the function of the Association came to be illegal, immoral and contrary to the public order [3]. The Courts, initially the Court of First Instance (Decision 7.380/96) and then, the Court of Appeal of Athens (10.493/97) accepted the application of the Prefect.


A.2. The reasons of the Courts for the dissolution of the Association

A.2.a. Dissolution of the Association due to a supposed deviation from its purpose

The Courts found that Κ.Ε.F.Ε during its function deviated from its purpose, because while it was appearing as a philosophic association according to its statutes, in reality it was a branch of the international organization of Scientology and since 1995 it had been arguing that it was a religion. The same courts held that this international organization did not appear with unified directions and similar purposes. In sustaining its finding, the Court of Appeal vaguely invoked decisions of foreign courts and the international press resulting from the file of the case. The Courts also held that some times Scientology in order to enjoy the privileges stemming from religious freedom showed it as a religion.

According to its statutes, the purpose of the Association was not just philosophic. The word ‘philosophy’ was included merely in its name together with the objective "applied". As it is known, its full name was "Center of applied philosophy of Greece". It adopted this title for the reasons that in Greece, on the one hand, legislation providing the conditions for the recognition of a new religion does not exist. On the other hand, a strong movement from a political point of view is being grown up against the minority religions and more specifically the new ones. This movement consists of organizations and individuals seeming to retain a certain degree of linkage with the Orthodox Church of Greece, which is the "prevailing" religion [4] in this country.

The purpose of the Association was religious because it intended to present, teach and diffuse the educational and philosophic principles of Scientology, as developed by its founder. It is well known that Scientology at the international level defines itself as a religion [5]. Its headquarters is the Church of Scientology international seated in Los Angeles, California. Intercontinentally, coordinator of the Churches of Scientology is the respective Continental Liaison Office. Copenhagen’s Office is responsible for the Churches based in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Israel. The same Office is competent for the Greek Church of Scientology. Consequently, the finding of the Court that Scientology is not showed in all countries as a religion is not justified.

The finding of the Court according to which it run counter to domestic public order the fact that Κ.Ε.F.Ε was not an independent organization but subject to a strict hierarchical structure of international level supervised and controlled by foreign organizations and centers, has no ground. This is because, in accordance with par. 16.4.b of the Concluding Document of the Vienna Follow-up Meeting in the framework of the Conference for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), the participating States - among which Greece - were committed to respect the right of religious communities to organize themselves according to their own hierarchical and institutional structure. According to par. 32 of the Chapter "Cooperation in humanitarian and other fields" of the same Document, States will allow the representatives and the believers of every religion to establish and maintain direct personal contacts and communication with each other [6]. If Greece is not allowed to hinder the exercise of the aforementioned rights of the Catholic Church of Greece with regard to the Holy See, it is not allowed for the same reasons to do so with the Greek Church of Scientology with regard to the Church of Scientology International.

In 1995, Κ.Ε.F.Ε dared to declare its real nature, as already included in its statutes, namely that it was a religious organization. As the Special Rapporteur of UN Human Rights Commission recognized in his report of 1996 on his visit to Greece, it was not easy for a minority religion to retain high profile in the Greek society because it might be subject to persecution. This is much more valid for a new religion entering the same society.

The courts hinted that Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s incorporation into the hierarchical structure of the Church of Scientology International violated the principle of association’s autonomy and self-administration as regulated by the Civil Code. But, it must be accepted, as it has been in Germany [7], that the freedom of association for religious purposes [8] emanates too from the freedom of religious expression [9] or belief. This freedom includes the demand that the state legislation provides for a form or forms of legal personality, which religions could adopt but not the demand for providing a specific form. Thus, a new religion could adopt by virtue of the Civil Code either the form of an association or a non-profit organization.

The freedom of association for religious purposes is protected by law of high legal validity (Constitution, International law for the protection of human rights). This freedom permits the law of a certain religion to apply in the statutes of an association or a non-profit organization that is the legal expression of a local religious community. These staturory provisions may concern only the internal organization of the religion, to which the local religious community belongs. However, in view of the security of transactions and the protection of rights of third persons, they cannot refer to external transactional relations of the association or a non-profit organization. In other words, the associations do not loose their autonomy to the extent they assume their own obligations. In this way, the provisions of statutes permit the hierarchical structure, which eventually exists between the headquarters and the administrative sub-divisions of a religion to be secured.

Both the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal made reference to the question if the Church of Scientology was recognized as a religion in other countries or not, and examined the same question with regard to the Greek legal order. As regards the other countries, the Court of Appeal invoked two decisions of German Courts against the Church of Scientology. It did not cite German legal journals for any of them. With regard to the second one, it made reference to the "Information Bulletin - Religious Freedom and Human Rights" issued by an organization, the "Pan-Hellenic Union of Parents for the protection of Greek-Orthodox Culture, the Family and the Individual", which belongs to the anti-cult movement. It also cited two publications of the magazine "Der Spiegel".

Both the two German courts’ decisions and the publications of "Der Spiegel" made reference to a book of the unforgettable f. Antonis Alevizopoulos, secretary of the Synodic Committee for the heresies of Orthodox Church of Greece [10]. It must be pointed out that the association named "Pan-Hellenic Union of Parents" and the Orthodox Church of Greece intervened to support the Prefect who applied for the dissolution of the Association. The court judged both interventions acceptable.

As to the "Pan-Hellenic Union of Parents", the court held that it had legal interest in dissolving the association stemming from the constitutional provisions for the protection of individual rights and its purpose. According to its statutes, the purpose of the Association is the protection of Greek-orthodox culture, the family and the individual [11]. These values, in the court’s judgment, are endangered and prejudiced by Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s activity. I am of the opinion that the possible violation of individual rights by some members of a religion does not give reason for dissolving the legal person representing this religion. Otherwise, all the major religions the members of which massacred the humanity and keep doing so in various times should have been dissolved. Moreover, the fact that the values promoted by an association of parents who disagree with the choices of their adult children to join a religion different from theirs, are endangered and prejudiced, does not justify the dissolution of the legal person which gives expression to the religion of their children.

As regards the Orthodox Church of Greece, the court judged that it had an ethical legal interest in dissolving Κ.Ε.F.Ε stemming from the constitutional provisions for the protection of individual rights. Based on Article 13 of the Constitution for the freedoms of religious conscience and worship, the Orthodox Church is the speaker for the Christian Orthodox faith and the prevailing religion in Greece and is legitimized to show interest in protecting the religious freedom vis-à-vis every para-religious organization and heresy. I am of the opinion that this reasoning of the court has no ground. The court without having the respective jurisdiction assigned to the "prevailing" religion the competence of the State to guarantee the human rights and more specifically the religious freedom recognizing it in the role of public prosecutor.

From a legal and logic point of view, a religion cannot be nominated protector not only of the religious freedom of its members but also of a democratic society, where the principle of religious pluralism must be in force [12].

On the above references to German courts’ decisions and publications of "Der Spiegel", the Court of Appeal tried unconvincingly to base its reasoning that the Scientology’s Church was a financial enterprise and not a religion. Not only this Church, but also every religion as organized religious community consists in three elements, the ideological (spiritual, theological), the authoritative, and the financial. If the religious character of the Catholic or the Evangelic-Lutheran Church in Germany, which exercise entrepreneurial activities aiming at their religious purposes cannot be doubted, how can the same element of the Scientology’s Church be doubted? Is it not a religious discrimination?

The Court of Appeal omitted to include in its decision that the German courts were divided on the question if the Scientology’s Church was a religion or not [13]. And this split existed, despite the clear and demonstrated opposition of the government of ex chancellor Kohl to this religion. But, Germany has not been the only country treating this issue. The same church has been recognized as a religion by judicial and administrative decisions, in twenty-five countries, like Australia [14], Italy [15], United States [16], Portugal [17], Norway [18], Hungary [19] and Great Britain [20].

The Committee of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights considers that Article 18 of International Covenant protects the theistic, non-theistic, atheistic and irreligious beliefs. The terms "religion" and "belief" must be broadly construed. Article 18 is not applicable only in traditional religions or religions and beliefs with institutional features or practices similar to those of the traditional religions. It is unacceptable for the newly established religions or religions representing religious minorities [21] to be subject to discriminations fostered by a prevailing religious community in a certain society.

A.2.b. Dissolution of the Association on the basis of anti-cult movement’s theories and more specifically the exercise of lucrative activity

It is known that the groups participating in the anti-cult movement in the U.S.A and Canada (CAN) attack the new religious movements. They charge them for committing crimes in large scale, using brain-control, and being dangerous sects. The anti-cult movement seems also to have become rooted in a few European countries (French ADFI, British FAIR), and among others in Greece (Pan-Hellenic Union of Parents) [22].

The Greek courts in their decisions also based the dissolution of Κ.Ε.F.Ε on the theories of anti-cult movement. In particular, they mentioned that Κ.Ε.F.Ε was an organization with totalitarian structures and trends; that it substantially disdained the man and his freedom; that it used brainwashing; that it created managed way of thinking; that it omitted to take measures for the protection of health of the individuals who participated in their therapeutic methods. Yet, the courts noted that Κ.Ε.F.Ε brought about changing their members’ personality and behavior, the relations with their families, even fully alienating from them, abandoning their studies and fully devoting themselves to the Association. The courts concluded that Κ.Ε.F.Ε was an organization using practices medically, socially and ethically dangerous and harmful.

How did the courts arrive at the above conclusions? They isolated certain expressions and concepts from the Scientology’s books without placing them in their wider meaning. They did not sufficiently understand the role of certain internal organs of the religion, like the "Ethics Officers", the "Ethics Courts" and the "Office of Special Cases". They utilized the prosecuting witnesses only, ex members or others, and not the defense witnesses. The courts held that the theories of the anti-cult movement were verified in the Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s case, and due to it, Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s purpose and in general its function were rendered illegal, immoral, and contrary to the public order. The prosecuting testimonies had been taken from the preliminary examination’s file, carried out by the Prosecuting Vice-Attorney. According to the law the proofs’ estimation by the ordinary courts is not controlled by Arios Pagos, the Supreme Court of Cassation in Greece [23], but science can scrutinize the judicial reasoning.

In the courts’ decisions, which dissolved the Association, bona mores were identified with the ethics of the Orthodox Church of Greece, though their wording was sweeping. But, this consideration is not correct. The concept "bona mores" [24] in the case of dissolving the Association having religious purpose is identified with public morals (Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). Public morals are the whole rules of conduct, which are imposed by the democratic legal order, or in other words by the values of the contemporary legal culture. These values are summed up in the concepts of freedom, equality and democracy. Consequently, public morals are identified with the equal freedom, more specifically equal religious freedom for all and equal enjoyment by all. Public morals are conceived as obligation of the state organs to secure neutrality of the State in religion and belief. They are also conceived as obligation of the governed, citizens or foreigners, to tolerate the religious convictions or beliefs of the others and in general to respect their dignity [25].

Κ.Ε.’s dissolution was also grounded on the reasoning that the Association was exercising financial activity covered, depending on its interests, initially by its quality as a philosophic association and later by its quality as a religion. Courts taking into account K.E.F.Ε’s application to the Greek Ministry of National Economy for approving export to Scientology Mission International of a certain monetary amount corresponding to an agreed rate of the gross income of the former in a certain period, as intellectual rights of the latter, concluded that Κ.Ε.F.Ε was exercising financial activity. The Courts arrived at the same conclusion by taking into account the deposit of trademarks of Scientology in the Ministry of Trade.

The potential development of necessary financial and not entrepreneurial activity by Κ.Ε.F.Ε for servicing Scientology’s religious purposes should not be used by courts as pretense for dissolving the association which was expressing the Church of Scientology in Greece. Additionally, in traditional religions, religious services are prestated on remuneration, which is either institutionalized or paid in an informal and customary way. In all religions, the consumption of religious services by the members or candidate members is not conceived as purchase, but aims at attracting donations consisted in monetary amounts or other ex gratia items. In Orthodox Church of Greece, monetary donations by the religionists to the ecclesiastic legal persons or to clergymen in exchange for the supply by the latter of religious services, are called "τυχερά" (tycherá), fortuitous.

The decision of the Court of Appeal mentioned that the Greek Ministry of National Economy forwarded to the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece the aforementioned Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s application to the former for approval of export of a monetary amount to the Scientology Mission International. In addition, it requested from the Orthodox Church of Greece to give opinion for the character and the activities of Scientology in Greece [26].

The Ministry of National Economy unlawfully and arbitrarily forwarded Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s application to the supreme authority of the "prevailing" religion. The latter has no competence to give opinion to the administration for the character and the activities of any minority religion, despite the fact that the administration in practice recognizes the prevailing religion as competent in this respect. Exercise of such a competence by the Orthodox ecclesiastic authorities violates the religious freedom and equality and renders in practice the Orthodox Church of Greece a body of state power in religious matters over the other "known" religions. The Ministry of National Education and Religions is the only competent authority to give the other ministries opinions on matters concerning the religions.

As above referred, the judicial decisions, which dissolved Κ.Ε.F.Ε as to the theories of anti-cult movement, rested mainly on the report of Prosecuting Vice-Attorney of First Instance to his director. The Prosecuting Vice-Attorney investigated twice the Association’s offices and confiscated files, computers and diskettes. As to the lucrative activity dimension, the decisions rested on the report of administrative and auditing control on the function of the Association, which was compiled by a four-member committee of Athens Prefect, following an order of the Prefect. The civil servants’ committee of Prefecture used the report of the Prosecuting Vice-Attorney to a great extent.

In any case, the report of the Prosecuting Vice-Attorney, which included the findings of the preliminary examination, according to the law, should not be used by civil courts which dissolved the Association, neither the findings of the administrative committee of the Prefecture to the extent that were based on the findings of the Prosecuting Vice-Attorney. Preliminary examination is ordered exclusively to establish if the conditions to put in motion a prosecution [27] are fulfilled. The findings of the preliminary examination loose their legal significance either by putting in motion a prosecution or by being put in the archive. Banning the use of these findings in civil proceedings is inferred from the banning of use in the criminal proceedings of the testimony which a person gives in the preliminary criminal examination if then this person acquires the status of accused [28]. The civil courts to dissolve the Association could freely estimate [29] the decision of the criminal court only.

Criminal prosecution was ordered and some members of Κ.Ε.F.Ε were charged for stalking and collecting information on the personal data of private, social, professional and service life of important public persons in Greece. Such persons were journalists, clergymen of Orthodox Church, judicial officers and politicians who had openly criticized the Association. Yet, the members were charged for classifying and registering this information in documents and individual files, which they were also sending to foreign centers of information. Pursuant to the charge, those acts offended the credit, honor, and personality of the victims.

The indictment bill No. 347/98 of the Athens Judges’ Board of first Instance classified the above acts as an unprovoked factual insult committed in concert, in repetition and jointly other offences [30]. The Three-member Court of Appeal of Athens in its decision No. 6244/99 changed the charge to factual insult [31]. The criminal court definitely removed the prosecution for the acts imputed to the members. The punishable act was eliminated due to the fact that the victims did not submit a suit against the defendants within the provided three-month deadline, which started from when they became aware of the acts committed [32].

Entirely irrelevant with this criminal case the court noted in its decision that the defendants - members of K.Ε.F.Ε deviated from the purpose of the Association and transformed themselves into a para-religious organization converting mainly young people and committing the above acts referred to in the prosecution. The criminal court had no jurisdiction neither to judge if Κ.Ε.F.Ε deviated from its purpose, given that this was the civil courts’ jurisdiction nor if the members were committing proselytism, which was not included in the prosecution. Neither had it jurisdiction to recognize or not a group as a religion or para-religious organization.

The criminal court made analytical reference to the judicial decision of dissolving the Association. Such recourse has absolutely no place in a decision of a criminal court that judged certain persons on the basis of a specific charge. Pursuant to the Greek Criminal Code, only natural persons can be criminally responsible and not legal entities.

The same criminal court included in its decision only the charge of the prosecuting authority, which it changed from unprovoked factual insult to factual insult. The reader strongly astonished cannot find in the decision the conclusive evidence on which the Court based its reasoning to hold that the defendants had committed the above-cited criminal acts. Consequently, it lacked special and full justification, which according to the Constitution [33] is necessary. As known, the justification of courts’ decisions is a fundamental component of a State based on the rule of law.

Three members of the Church of Scientology by virtue of agreement [34] dated 7 January 1997, established a non profit organization titled "Greek Center of Dianetics and Scientology". By virtue of agreement dated 26 March 1997, new members were subscribed in the Organization and its statutes were amended [35]. On the basis of the agreement of 1 March 1999 other members were subscribed and seceded and its statutes were amended [36] once again. This last amendment was important because it changed its title from "Greek Center of Dianetics and Scientology" into "Greek Church of Scientology" [37]. Its statutes provide now for the religious character of the non profit organization [38].

Specifically, the purpose of the organization is twofold: a) to establish and operate the Church of Scientology in Greece, and b) to present, diffuse and implement the principles of the religion of the Scientology, as well as to secure and maintain the purity and integrity of this religion, as developed and worded by Ron L. Hubbard and described in its holy books.

More specific purposes of the non profit organization are:

a) To organize religious activities for the believers of the Scientology Church, the pastoral guidance, masses every Sunday, naming ceremonies and funerals included;

b) to help and guide spiritually in Greece the religious community of Scientologists which consists of the clergy and believers of the Church of Scientology;

c) to institute and function an "Academy of clergymen" of the religion of Scientology with the aim to teach and train its clergymen;

d) to issue and distribute every kind of religious prints, books, and other material for the diffusion and understanding of the religion of Scientology;

e) to organize every kind of benevolent and other activity of social providence and take care of the spiritual needs of the religious community of Scientology and the humanity in general;

f) to provide religious teaching to its believers and the individuals interested in this religion.

Its statutes clarify that Scientology fights untruth, as well as every form of obscurantism, occultism, fanaticism, and forcing. Further, it outlines the religious convictions and the credo of the Religion of Scientology.

With their application No A3-148/21.10.1998 to the Ministry of Education and Religions, the pastor and certain believers of the Greek Church of Scientology applied for being licensed to operate a church. After three months of administrative inactivity from the submission of the application, the applicants brought a petition for annulment to the Council of State, the supreme administrative court, dated 18 July 2000, because of the silencing refusal of the administration to grant the license. By his decision A3-88/17.10.2000, the Minister of Education and Religions explicitly rejected the application for granting license to operate a church. Against this negative decision of the minister they brought a second application for annulment with date 15 December 2000.

The minister in his decision cited that the Church of Scientology was not a religion. He grounded his opinion on the credo of Scientology as well as on the decisions of the civil courts that dissolved Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s Association. The same minister further mentioned that as it was evident from the civil courts decisions, individual rights of its members, like the freedom of expression and opinion and the freedom of association were seriously violated. In this way, the recognition of the Church of Scientology as a religion is still judicially pending.

The constitutional concept "prevailing" religion is general and abstract, given that it is not defined by the Constitution. The political practice interprets this concept as state religion. This means that the administrative mechanism of Orthodox Church of Greece is incorporated into the administrative mechanism of the State. The State and the politicians instrumentalize the "prevailing" religion and the "prevailing" religion, the Orthodox hierarchy, instrumentalizes the State, each for its political purposes.

Before the restoration of the democracy in Greece in 1974, the State treated the minority religions as the "prevailing" religion recommended, varied from hostility to indifference, depending on the political clout, internal or international, of every religion. After the 1974 restoration, and the important efforts, which had been done for the consolidation of the rule of law, the democracy and the respect of human rights, there is no obsolete unity at the top between the State and the "prevailing" religion. But in the lower level of the State mechanism the unity with the Orthodox ecclesiastic authorities is given.

In this way, the so-called Synodic Committee on the Heresies decided to establish a social movement against the minority religions and more specifically the new ones, respective with those existing in other countries. Through this Synodic Committee, the Orthodox Church of Greece supported the parents the adult children of whom adhered to minority religions and seems to have organized them in the Association "Pan-Hellenic Union of Parents".

The legal treatment of the Church of Scientology in Greece has been so far closely linked to the coordinated action of the Synodic Committee on Heresies and the Pan-Hellenic Union of Parents. Both organizations exercised their political influence on the Administration and the Justice too, to persecute a new religion, which has as yet been recognized in twenty-five countries. Both the Administration and the Justice fully accepted the arguments of two organizations, arguments that are adopted by all the agents participating in the anti-cult movement, independently on their national origin, against the new religions.

A characteristic case of engagement between the State and the "prevailing" religion was forwarding to the Orthodox Church of Greece of Κ.Ε.F.Ε’s application addressed to the Ministry of National Economy for export of foreign exchange to Scientology Mission International. In the context of this engagement, delinquencies both of the decisions which dissolved K.Ε.F.Ε’ s Association and the criminal decision against specific members of it were identified. In the same context, the refusal of the Ministry of National Education and Religions to grant permission to operate a church to the Church of Scientology must be placed. This refusal came with a formal justification but in substance was unjustified.


[1] Anonymous: "The judicial adventures of Scientology in Greece", God and Religion 12(2000), p. 87 (in Greek)

[2] _._.F._’s Statutes were registered in the Book of Associations of the Court of First Instance of Athens under No. 13184/7.11.1984.

[3] Article 105 § 3 of Civil Code.

[4] Article 3 of Greek Constitution (thereinafter Constitution)

[5] See "What is Scientology? A unified work for the fastest growing religion in the world. Based on the works of Ron L. Hubbard, New Era Publications International ApS., Copenhagen 1999. Also, "Scientology, Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion", presented by the Church of Scientology, New Era Publications International ApS., Copenhagen 1998.

[6] Direct personal contacts and communication among the representatives and the believers of every religion is ensured, inter alia, through travel, pilgrimages excursions, participation and other assembles and religious events (see Ar. Bloed (ed): The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Analysis and basic documents, 1972-1993, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht/Boston/London in cooperation with the Europa Institute, Faculty of Law, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 336 and 361)

[7] Decision Baha’is of Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfGE 83, 341)

[8] The freedom of association for religious purposes is also based secondarily on Article 12 of the Constitution, which protects the freedom of association in a general way.

[9] Article 13 par 3 rec. 1 of the Constitution protects the freedom of worship of "known" religions. But, under an extensive interpretation, it must be accepted that it guarantees in general the freedom of religious expression, given that there is not other pertinent constitutional provision. The same freedom is also protected by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, by Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and by Article 1 of UN Declaration on the elimination of all forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (1981).

[10] Novel heresies - Catastrophic worships in the light of Orthodoxy, Ed. by Dialogos, Athens 1995, pp. 196-7 (in Greek).

[11] Article 2 of its statutes.

[12] Decision of the European Court of Human Rights of 25.5.1993, Kokkinakis v. Greece, Series A: Judgments and Decisions Vol. 260-A, par. 31, p. 17.

[13] Decisions of German Courts on Scientology appear on several Web sites.

[14] High Court of Australia, Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax (Vict.) 1983 154 CLR 120.

[15] Corte Suprema di Cassazione, Sentenza n. 1329/8.10.1997, <https://www.cesnur.org/testi/Milano.htm>, 25.1.2000, pp. 1-40.

[16] Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 1.10.1993.

[17] Justice Ministry, Registry of the Religious Association "Portuguese Church of Scientology", No. 177.

[18] Transcript from the Central Co-ordination Register of Legal Entities (dare: 22.11.1999), Organization number: 970 551 972, Date registered: 12.3.1995.

[19] Registration of Social Organizations, Foundations, Capital’s Court, Date of listing 17.7.1991.

[20] Ministry of Defense, Victory Building, HM Naval Bas, Portsmouth PO1 3LS, D/CSAUSNP/3500/4/11/9.10.1996 from Mr. P. G. Mclntyre to Mr. J. Pillar.

[21] See General Comment No. 22 (48) 1993.

[22] Decline of religious freedom in parts of Europe, see http://www.religioustolerance.org and https://www.cesnur.org.

[23] Article 559 of Civil Procedure Code.

[24] Article 105 par 3 of the Civil Code.

[25] See Kyriakos Kyriazopoulos: Limitations of the freedom of teaching of the minority religions, Sakkoulas, Thessaloniki 1999, p. 187 (in Greek).

[26] See the reply of the Orthodox Church of Greece to the Ministry of National Economy in its document "Report of the Synodic Committee on the Heresies for the character and the activities of___.F.____ and the U-Man Hellas" (Alevizopoulos, Antonis: Nazism in other face - Methodical handling of totalitarial heresies and para-religious groups, Ed.________, Athens 1996, pp. 107-120 republished in Michalopoulos, Gr: I unmask K..F., pp. 309-322) (In Greek).

[27] Articles 43 par. 2 and 31 par 1 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

[28] The above banning arises from the right to silence of the defendant so in the preliminary criminal procedure as in open court. (Article 273 par 2 of Criminal Procedure Code).

[29] Articles 250, 340 and 432 et seq. of Civil Procedure Code. See also the corresponding provisions of Articles 61 and 62 of Criminal Procedure Code.

[30] Article 361A of Criminal Code. See D. SPINELIS: The Legal Good of Honor and its Punishable Offences, Athens 1976, pp. 476 et seq, (In Greek).

[31] Article 361 par. 1 of Criminal Code. See H. GAFOS: Criminal Law, Special Part, Vol. __, Athens 1965, pp. 136-147.

[32] Articles 368 par. 1, 361 par. 1, and 117 of Criminal Code.

[33] Article 93 par. 3 of the Constitution.

[34] The agreement with date 7 January 1997 was published in the Non-Profit Organizations Book of the Court of First Instance of Athens under No. 389/9.1.97.

[35] The agreement with date 26 March 1997 was published in the Non-Profit Organizations Book of the Court of First Instance of Athens under No. 3383/27.3.97.

[36] The agreement with date 1 March 1999 was published in the Non-Profit Organizations Book of the Court of First Instance of Athens under No. 2936/15.3.99.

[37] Article 1 of the Statutes.

[38] Articles 3 and 8 of the Statutes.

The Spiritual Supermarket: Religious Pluralism in the 21st Century

April 19-22, 2001

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