A Greek priest who caused outrage with anti-Semitic remarks during a television interview has issued a letter of clarification, claiming that it is Zionism and not Jews that he hates.
In the letter, which appeared last week on the FightHatred.com website the Metropolite of Piraeus, Seraphim, seeks to clarify that he does not hate Jews (recognizing that Jesus was born a Jew) but claims that the Jews have since been lead into Satanism by the teachings of the Talmud, the Rabbis and the Kabbalah. He also says that Zionism is a conspiracy to take over the world.
The letter, which was originally published on a Greek-Orthodox news agency's website, came after the widespread outrage which followed remarks Seraphim had made on a television morning show, during which he blamed world Jewry for Greece's financial problems.
Seraphim had said that there is a conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy and accused "international Zionism" of trying to destroy the family unit by promoting one-parent families and same-sex marriages.
When the host asked Seraphim, "Why do you disagree with Hitler's policies? If they are doing all this, wasn't he right in burning them?" he answered: "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."
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) subsequently called on the Greek Orthodox church to remove the priest over his comments.
"I felt disgust hearing the Metropolite of Piraeus expressing himself like that against world Zionism, and shamelessly saying that Hitler with the help of Jewish bankers did what he did," Benjamin Albala, president of the Athens Jewish community, had told JTA.
In his clarification letter, Seraphim wrote that the things he said during the program "are strictly my personal views and opinions, which I have expressed repeatedly both verbally and in writing."
He adds that he respects, reveres and loves the Jewish people "as I do any other people of our world, in accordance with the teaching of the incarnated Son of God and the true Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour and Redeemer, who was heralded by all Prophets, and who was incarnated by the Jewish nation."
However, he also says that "My vehement public opposition to International Zionism refers to the organization that is the successor of the 'Sanhedrin', which through the Talmud, the Rabbinical Writings and Kaballah has altered the faith of the Patriarchs, the Prophets and Righteous of the Jewish nation into Satanism."
Seraphim ends the note by clarifying that he, "like any sane person on the planet," sees the Nazi regime and Hitler "as horrible criminals against humanity and object with all honor and respect against the Jewish Holocaust and against any other heinous genocide such as of the Pontic Greek and the Armenian people. Besides, the nation mourns thousands of martyrs who witnessed the criminal Nazi atrocities."