Following a lot of “gentle” pressure by the government, the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church took a historic decision to impose several restrictions in the operation of the churches across the country and to call on vulnerable groups of the society and elderly to stay home.
“Everybody should consider oneself as if infected with the virus,” the Holy Synod said in a statement.
The Holy Synod suspends daily mass services in the Churches with the exception of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday March 22, and Lazarus’ Saturday April 11 that will take place from 7:00 to 8:00 am, as well as on the feast of Annunciation, March 25.
Churches will remain open to “individual worship.”
Weddings and baptisms are suspended, and “If absolutely necessary, they take place under strict limited number of persons,” practically the persons involved and the godfather/mother.
“Funerals wilt take place only in restricted family circle, memorial services to be conducted with a restrcited number of people at the grave of the deceased.
Mass in the churches of Monasteries will take place without pilgrims.
It urges the faithful to pray every night from 10:00 to 10:15 “with us in their homes to end the temptation and disease and to strengthen the sacrificial work of doctors, nurses, and scientists, whom we gratefully thank and bless.”
The measures are valid until April 11, 2020.
“We adopt all measures imposed by the state,” the statement said adding that “if there would be necessity for additional measures, the Holy Synod will convene to evaluate the issue,” the statement of the Greek Orthodox Church said.
Bishop Stefanos who read the statement to reporters refrained from answering a question on whether the faithfull will be allowed to attend the masses on Sundays.
Archbishop Ieronymos and the Bishops met for five hours and were briefed also by Sotiris Tsiodras, Professor of Infectious Diseases and spokesperson of the National Health Organization.