World News – AU – Greek Orthodox Church to defy lockdown by opening for Epiphany

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The Holy Synod says that services on Wednesday will be held at places of worship in Greece despite the closure rules.

The Greek Orthodox Church has announced that it will oppose government lockdown orders to curb the spread of the coronavirus and open places of worship this Wednesday on the occasion of Epiphany.

After an emergency meeting of the Holy Synod, its governing body, high-ranking clergymen said they would go ahead as planned and celebrate the baptism of Christ on Aug.. Celebrate January.

« The synod does not approve the government’s new measures regarding the operation of places of worship and insists on what was originally agreed with the state, » the church body said in a statement.

« It is requested that the above decision be absolutely respected by the state without further consideration … that all sanitary measures have been followed by clergymen in thousands of churches across Greece. ”

The announcement that flies in the face of new week-long movement restrictions is the most overt act of defiance by the powerful institution to date.

Before the holiday season, the center-right government of Athens announced that it would loosen the curbs and allow all places of worship to hold services on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Epiphany, albeit with limited gatherings.

With the country’s health system under pressure after a surge in coronavirus cases, the government overturned the decision over the weekend, saying that restrictions eased during the festive period would be reinstated to help schools reopen on Nov.. January to facilitate. Greece has been since 7. Closed in November.

How Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who started the new year on Monday with a cabinet reshuffle, will react to the decision remains to be seen. The sight of believers breaking the restrictions that have caused dismay, not least in retail, would create further controversy. Epidemiologists have called for even tougher curbs if a second wave of the pandemic is to be brought under control in a country that does better than most but 140 so far. 099 coronavirus cases and 4. Has recorded 957 Covid-19 deaths.

Church hardliners have increasingly questioned public health measures and regretted the ban on coveted rituals such as the Lord’s Supper with a shared spoon.

Your anger comes despite prominent church leaders and innumerable clergymen who contract the disease. The spiritual leader of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos II. Before his release on 30. November was treated with coronavirus in hospital for two weeks, had previously stood on the side of the curbs.

« My message to everyone is patient, » the 82-year-old primate recently told the Guardian, recognizing the opposition of several bishops to the regulations. « Do not think that those who say this disease does not exist because it certainly exists and it works in a sly way. People have to follow the rules. ”

Epiphany, which officially marks the end of the Christmas holidays, is one of the most important religious festivals on the Greek Orthodox calendar.

Eastern Orthodox Church, Greece, government, Epiphany, lockdown

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Ref: https://www.theguardian.com

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