Greece – Government And Political Divisions

Tim protecting powers have bestowed upon Greece a parliamentary and constitutional Government, modelled upon West European patterns. Theoretically the King of the Greeks reigns, but does not govern, and his ministers are responsible to the Chambers, whose majority changes with the fluctuations of public opinion. In reality, however, the power of the King is limited only by diplomacy. Nor do those Western institutions respond to the traditions and the genius of the Greeks, and although the charter has been modified three times since the declaration of independence, it has never been strictly adhered to.

In accordance with the constitution of 1864, every Greek citizen possessing any property whatever, or exercising a profession, has a right to vote on attaining his twenty-fifth year, and becomes eligible as a deputy at thirty. The deputies, one hundred and eighty-seven in number, are elected for four years, and are paid for their services. The civil list of the King, inclusive of a subvention granted by the protecting powers, mounts to £16,000 a year.

The orthodox Greek Church of Hellas is independent of the Patriarch of Constantinople. It is governed by a Holy Synod, sitting in the capital, and presided over by an archbishop as metropolitan. A royal commissioner is present at the meetings of the Synod, and countersigns every proposition that is carried. Decisions not bearing this official signature are void. The King, on the other hand, is permitted to dethrone or remove a bishop only by consent of the Synod, and in accordance with the canon law. The constitution guarantees religious liberty, but this official Church nevertheless exercises considerable powers, and frequently calls upon the civil authorities to give force to its decrees. The Synod carefully watches over the observance of religious dogmas ; it points out to the authorities heretical or heterodox preachers and writers, and demands their suppression; exercises a censorship over books and religious pictures; and calls upon the civil tribunals to punish offenders.

There are no longer any Mohammedans in Greece, except sailors or travellers, and the last Turk has quitted Euboea. The only Church besides the established one which can boast a considerable number of adherents is the Roman Catholic. It prevails amongst the middle classes on Naxos, and on several others of the Cyclades, and is governed by to o archbishops and four bishops.

Greece is divided into thirteen nomes, or nomsrchies, and these, again, into fifty-nine eparchies. Each eparchy is subdivided into districts, or dimes (dimarchies), and the latter into parishes, governed by parcdres, or assistant dimarchs. These officials are appointed by the King, and are in receipt of small emoluments. The number of officials is proportionately greater in Greece than in any other part of Europe. They form the sixtieth part, or, including their families, the twelfth part of the population, and although their pay is small, they su allow up between them more than half the public income.