Greece: Relics of 3rd century Saint Barbara displayed at cancer hospital despite protests

Hundreds of worshippers have gathered at a chapel on the grounds of Greece's largest cancer hospital to view a silver chest with the remains of a 3rd century saint that has been put on display there despite protests.

Most of the worshippers, who include cancer patients and hospital staff members, were unable to see the chest Friday with the remains of Saint Barbara, which have been transferred from Italy and will remain in Greece for two weeks.

The display at Saint Savvas state hospital has caused a spat between the powerful Orthodox Church and members of the country's new left-wing government, who believe it gives patients false hope and should not be used to distract attention from serious shortages at public hospitals.

The church described the criticism as "disrespectful."