“A little late to the game” or, maybe, “better late than never.” You can pick the phrase and either of those two will be applicable to the this news that we read in the Greek Reporter earlier this week.
That news is, that after being legalized for use 13 years ago in the country, the first incinerators for cremation will be up and running in the city of Ritsona in a matter of days. So, yes, the “Cradle of Western Civilization” which gave us Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato and the country that developed Democracy, where the people rule themselves without a king, will become the last country in Europe to have a working crematoria.
The President of the Greek Cremation Society, Antonis Alakiotis, was quoted in the article, “Until today, thousands of families had to take their dead loved ones to Bulagaria or other countries. . . at an enormous financial and emotional cost.” He continued, “Cremation as an option has become particularly popular in recent years. . . In general, cremation is more economical and emotionally painless. We do not have official figures on how many cremations are done abroad, but we estimate that there are a thousand.”
According to the article, the Association of Athens Funeral Parlor Owners views positively the operation of incinerators in Greece, even though the number of those who choose cremation is small. Their president, Athanasios Kostopoulos was quoted in the article, “It’s something positive. . . It is a trend, and regardless of someone’s religious beliefs, it is an individual choice.” He continued, “However, there is no rapid increase in the number of people requesting cremation.”
Again, according to the article, Kostopoulos mentioned that the Athens funeral directors receive requests for about 500 cremations per year out of 100,000 to 110,000 deaths. That would equate to a cremation percentage of less than 1/2 of 1%.