Cremation Gets Legal Go-Ahead

Lawmakers yesterday approved legislation allowing for the cremation of the dead to take place in Greece for the first time in country’s history.

The law permits the cremation of people who request this method instead of burial as long as their religion also allows it. The law still forbids the act for Orthodox Christians. The Church of Greece opposes cremation for believers, arguing that Orthodox traditions only allow for burial.

The previous law also banned cremation for other faiths. This made matters particularly difficult for Muslims in Greece who had to send their dead abroad to be cremated.

Leftist opposition parties described yesterday’s measure as “weak,” saying the law should give everyone the right to cremation. Relatives — up to fourth removed — can request a cremation for the deceased. If there is a disagreement among family members then the matter will be settled by a prosecutor.

The necessary cremation facilities, which currently do not exist in Greece, will be overseen by local municipalities.



(Posting date 9 May 2006)

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