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Following truck concern, Greece’s bishops demand opening of churches

It was clear that the concert on a truck through the streets of Athens over the weekend sent the wrong messages amid the lockdown restrictions in Greece. The clergy wants that the churches open mmediately and some even warn to open them without waiting for the government approval.

At least three bishops raised their voices on Sunday demanding re-opening of the places of worship.

Regarding the crowding during the concert stunt in front of the Prime Minister a week after Easter, Bishop of Larissa Ieronymos said that “a popular singer cannot tour Athens with a megaophone to cheer up Greeks and the same thing to be forbidden to parishes.”

Bishop Theoklitos of Stageon and Meteora said the concert on the truck “is not justifiable a few days after clerics were prevented from holding the traditional epitaph processions on Good Friday.”

“But we saw yesterday [Saturday] that those who enacted the laws, first and foremost the prime minister, have gathered together with his associates and many others to listen to a concert, without safety measures without the distances.,” the bishop said speaking of “double standards.”

“That is why we are opening our churches today, we are ringing the bells and we are here to defend ourselves to anyone who wants to come and complain,” he stressed.

In the same wavelength, Bishop Theoklitos of Ierissos said that “attempts to impose the state on the church will not pass.”

A statement issued by the Bishop of Piraeus said that “an unprecedented and peculiar persecution against the Church, under the pretext of ensuring public health from the coronavirus epidemic, seems to have been carried out methodically and systematically by the State in recent times.”

Archbishop Ieronymos has written a letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis asking him to include the opening of the churches in the 3-stage plan of the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Truth is that no date on the reopening of the churches has been even vaguely mentioned neither by government officials nor on media reports about the lockdown lifting in recent days.

During a briefing on Monday morning, government spokesman Stelios Petsas said that “churches will reopen at a subsequent phase,” however, without elaborating.

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