The synod of the Church of Greece met on Monday in an extraordinary session to discuss developments of the Coronavirus pandemic in Greece.
During the meeting, bishops were briefed by infectious disease specialist and spokesman for the Greek Health Ministry Sotiris Tsiodras, who warned of the high rate of transmission of the virus and the exponential increase of cases in Greece over the weekend.
Pressure was on the Church from all facets of Greek public life to cancel liturgies and send a clear message too faithful to stay home. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis even alluded to difficult decisions the Church had to make in a national address he made last week.
But the Church refused to budge and announced a series of new edicts which didn’t go far enough, forcing the Greek Prime Minister to send a powerful message, temporarily halting all services and liturgies.
In a Tweet after the Church of Greece’s announcement that it wouldn’t halt liturgies, which involve the sacrament of Holy Communion, Mitsotakis said:
“With a government decision all liturgies in all places of worship of every faith will be suspended. Churches will remain open only for individual prayer. Protecting public health requires clear decisions.”
In its original message, the Church maintained that although daily liturgies would be cancelled, Sunday liturgies would continue in a “simplified” format and would only last an hour.
The Church of Greece’s original statement is here.
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