Hundreds of thousands of Greek Orthodox Christians in Germany will be permitted to return to their churches for services this week, but the government has forbidden the practice of Holy Communion– essential in the sacramental life of the church.
The announcement came in an encyclical that was shared by Metropolitan Augustinos of Germany on the Metropolis’ Facebook page.
More than 70 parishes comprise the Metropolis of Germany, which is under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. There are an estimated 500,000 Greek-descent residents in the country, most of whom affiliate with the Greek Orthodox Church.
The statement from Metropolitan Augustinos of Germany follows below.
“In view of the opening of the holy temples in the German territory, Legislative Decrees have been issued, which, in addition to the other security measures that have already been adopted, go so far as to regulate the manner of distributing the Eucharist, that is, to prohibit Holy Communion from the chalice with the use of the Spoon.
Therefore, with deep sorrow, I would like to inform you that, until the date of the expiry of the above Legislative Decrees, although we can all attend church services, no one can receive the Holy Communion, but the priests who perform the Liturgy.
It is understood that the Measures to prevent dissemination of Coronavirus issued by the authorities are valid in full and until a new decision.
The forced exclusion of our faithful from the Holy Communion is the saddest and most painful measure I have ever had to take in my forty-year ecclesiastical ministry as Metropolitan of Germany. I fervently pray to the Lord of Glory to revoke this decision as soon as possible.”
In addition to the churches, Chancellor Angela Merkel approved the re-openings of museums, playgrounds and small businesses.
“We must work to make sure we bring the number of new infections down further,” Merkel said. “If the infection curve becomes steep again, we need to have a warning system to notice it early and be able to act.”
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