A circular of the Holy Synod of the Greek Church set the country for one more time on fire amid the coronavirus pandemic. Churches will be open to the faithful so that they can individually pray during the Holy Week, Greece’s top clergy has instructed the bishops and the priests so that they are prepared and act accordingly .
presupposed to open the doors of the churches to faithful and to mass contamination with the coronavirus.
The circular was distributed to the Metropolises across the country on Thursday
The churches will be open for 2 hours after the religious services and for 4 hours on Good Friday, the circular said.
The announcement emphasized that the services will be held behind closed doors, and that the doors of the churches will be opened for “at least two hours” after the end of the morning services.
From Good Monday to Good Thursday (April 13-16, 2020) churches will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m., and on Good Friday from 01:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m.
The Holy Synod stressed that “the religious services will be broadcast on television, radio and internet,” and urges that the instructions of the government should be followed “so as not to give any reason for malicious comments.”
The deliberate decision that opens the doors to massive virus contamination triggered an uproar on social media and journalists overwhelmed the government spokesman during the daily briefing.
“We are in contact with the Church,” spokesman Stelios Petsas said, refraining from giving a clear answer.
Short time later, the spokesman of the Holy Synod said that “there was a misunderstanding” and that the “churches will be open for the priests and their assistants.”
Bishop of Nafpaktos Ierotheos told news agency amna, that the “faithful ought to stay at home” and “do not come to the churches.”
Before the outcry and the obviously clear rejection by the government to the Holy Synod, Bishop Ierotheos had told Mega TV:
“There will be no crowding outside the churches. But even if there is one, we will not be responsible for it.”
He claimed that “just like going to the pharmacy, people will pass by to light a candle in the church.
The seek and hide between the Church, the Government, the faithful and the Coronavirus may also continue next week, especially on Holy Friday with the traditional Epitaphios Procession and on Easter Saturday, where the tradition wants the Greeks to flock to churches to receive the Holy Fire.
Religious Services are not allowed to be transmitted per loudspeakers, but every Greek knows that Epitaphios procession begins at 9 p.m. on Friday, and the Holy Fire ceremony to celebrate the Resurrection takes place midnight sharp on Saturday.
“The bells will toll through the Holy Friday and at the Resurrection time on Saturday,” the Holy Synod circular said.
Will people gather outside the churches?
The Greek Church had made crystal clear that it is responsible only for what is happening inside the churches and not outside.
The government had to make immense effort to convince the Church that “the faith is not tested when churches remain closed and the faithful at their homes during the conoravirus pandemic.”