August 12, 2014

Archbishop Irinaios of Crete: "We Need a New Direction and New Course"

Helen Bouchalaki
July 1, 2014

In the context of change and upheaval in every human life in general and in Crete in particular, News Creta spoke with Archbishop Irinaios of Crete. Here is the interview:

- We are living in strange and difficult times in which all of humanity is possessed with uncertainty and anxiety. Particularly on the island of Crete do you judge that this phenomenon is more limited?

Uncertainty and anxiety is a phenomenon that touches and affects all humanity and Crete. People across the world and in our island more or less are facing this problem. I think it is important to consider what caused this situation and how we arrived at this point in which we are now.

I believe that the distancing of people today from God and the Church, from our way of life and tradition, the restriction of ourselves to our "ego", our individual desires, our ideas and dreams, our weaknesses and our choices, have created a phenomenon of uncertainty and anxiety.

When I am supported only on my "ego", without visions, horizons and secure guidance in my life, without knowing who I am, what I am, what my life is and where I am going, the time will come and the time has already come where we will live in the situations we are in today, more or less.

We were not what we were in other eras here in Crete as we are today, because we had another authority, another basis, open paths and values that supported us and guided us. But today we have left all these things and enclosed ourselves in our "ego", we live these phenomena, we remain committed to ease, pleasantries and lies.

I personally believe that this is why we are found where we are nowadays.

- What does our blessed Crete have more than other places on earth?

If Crete has more or less uncertainty and anxiety than other places on earth is not clear. It is clear that Crete has humanity, bravery, strength, stamina, vision, reverence, respect, history, traditions, standards.

Now these things have been abandoned and what is sought for is only easy money, attractiveness and pleasantries. We have become diminished and are limited only to these things! We love these things and worry if we lose them, and when we have evidence and situations that show that we lost these things we once had and have, we fall into and become the uncertainty and anxiety of our era. If this is more or less in our Crete, it is not that clear, nor is it important. We are as everyone else is, more or less.

- What do you attribute the phenomenon of infestation of so many different peoples and nationalities to our island? Why do they choose Crete for permanent residence?

I believe that the infestation today to our island of so many different peoples and nationalities has many causes. Some of these are the climate and the people, as well as the anxiety and seeking of people today for a better way of life and place to live. This has a lot of depth and many causes.

- You are close to God but also close to the people on a daily basis. What is the common ground people should find to have mental peace and serenity?

We need God. Without Him we cannot know who we are and where we are. We also need the world and people as creations and creatures of the Creator. We cannot and must not live without our Father and Creator, but also without our brethren and families. The common component people must find today is God and our brethren to find a way for our security. This was the path of people of olden times and our saints. This is what we need today.

- What would you wish to change in the world we live in, especially in Crete?

To change our attitude and lifestyle. To not only live for money and good times, for ease and lies. To have principles and a fixed basis that is eternal and proven. To change our mindset and attitude, far and away from the way of life today which is not true or trustworthy. Let us not be orphans, but let us have a Father, a brother, a sister, a family, our own land, our Creator and Father. Let us live another way and attitude towards life. Another life, a new life, a change of life, repentance, reorientation. A new journey.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos.