Graveyard Overcrowding Stokes Cremation Debate in Greece

The following article is informative and may help some of you understand circumstances surrounding your own ancestors deaths.

by Claire Brennan
Published by the BBC News on 3 May 2015

 George Vlassis flew almost 500km (310 miles) from Athens to Corfu to bury his father, Alexander. His bones had been packed in a tin container after they were exhumed from a graveyard in Zografou in the Greek capital.
"I had to explain to the airport staff what they were going to find inside," Mr Vlassis told the BBC.
After a long journey, he arrived on the island and buried the remains in a private grave in his village. Finally, his father had a permanent resting place.
Mr Vlassis's story is not an unusual one in Greece.
Burial in the country's largest cities has long been a temporary measure. A shortage of land means cemeteries in Athens and Thessaloniki are overcrowded.
There are no crematoria in Greece, so grave space has to be recycled. Authorities rent out plots, and a typical lease lasts three years.
When that period has passed, families are recalled to the graveside to witness the removal of the body from the ground. Although grave rental is not entirely uncommon in Europe, Greece's approach is unique.