I am in Athens for a conference on religious freedom issues - where I hope to learn much and also share best practices with my Greek and US counterparts. Speaking of, some of my Greek colleagues mentioned the challenges Athenians face when looking to get cremated after death.
For one thing, there is no crematorium in the country - mainly it seems due to opposition from religious authorities. The problem has become acute. Graveyard space, especially in urban areas is limited. Bodies are now dug up every three years and moved to different, often rural, locations due to space constraints.
But what if your religion mandates cremation? Once a common practice in Ancient Greece, today cremation is permitted only for those whose religion allows it. To be cremated a person must have made it clear before their death that they wish to be cremated (alternatively, relatives must declare that this is the case).
Even if you obtain this permission, however, the lack of crematoriums leaves shipment of a deceased’s remains to Bulgaria or Italy as the only viable option. Often the expense of undertaking this task leaves relatives of the deceased with burial in Greece as the most practical option.
This article from the Greek Reporter has more to say about all this, with views from both those against and in favor of cremation in Greece.