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Prosecutors file against priests in Athens and Corfu for violating lockdown

Greek state and religious authorities have launched investigation into two priests who share the Holy Communion to fiathful, despite the explicit ban by both authorities. It was a priest in Koukaki district in Athens, who gave the Holy Communion to children and elderly at the back door of the church, while a priest on the island of Corfu invited more than 15 people to the Sunday liturgy.

Deputy Minister for Crisis management and head of Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias, asked the Minister of Justice, to intervene, stating that “the two incidents in Koukaki and Corfu endanger the lives of citizens and the public health. I contacted the Minister of Justice in order to ask the prosecutor’s office to initiate legal proceedings.”

Holy Communion in Koukaki

The first incident took place in the Church of Agios Nikolaos in Koukaki, with a priest giving the Holy Communion from the back door of the church.

Residents observing what was going on called on the priest to stop, but he reportedly claimed that what he was doing was legal.

The residents took pictures and sent them to media websites.

As a result, the Holy Archdiocese of Athens intervened and issued a statement saying it investigates the incident and will take immediate action. It recalled the decisions of the Holy Synod stressing that they are binding for all clergy.

Holy Communion in Corfu

According to local media kerkyrasimera, while the procession of the holy shrine of Agios Spyridon for the first time took place inside the church and behind closed doors, the doors were not that closed. In addition to the priests and chanters there were also representatives of the local authorities and a few faithful, with the gathering exceeding the threshold of 10 people.

“Impressive is the fact that in front of the cameras, the Bishop, the priests and the faithful proceeded to the sacrament of Holy Communion, despite the bans and the clear position of the State for the churches during the coronation pandemic, notes the local news website.

Cases filed

According to media information on Sunday evening, both the prosecutor in Athens and in Corfu have filed cases against the priests, while the inflagranti prosecution on Monday evening.

According to reports, police officers went to the church in Koukaki on Sunday evening seeking for the priest.

If the priests get arrested within 48 hours, they can be brought to a judge immediately.

There were reports that also the other participants may get prosecuted if they identified from pictures and video footage.

The Greek Civil protection allows religious services in the presence of maximum four people, including the priest, chanters and assistants, and these services should be held strictly behind closed doors.

Although the Holy Communion is not prohibited, the National Committee for Public Health made clear that the coronavirus may be transmitted from the spoon that is shared among several faithful.

After initial resistance the Greek Church had to comply with the laws.

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