The Archdiocese of Athens is conducting an investigation into the incident at the Church of Saint Nikolaos in Koukaki (Athens) after the publication of photos in which a priest is offering Holy Communion to believers from the back door of the church.
The priest’s action provoked the reaction of neighbours and locals, who called on the priest to stop, but he allegedly claimed that what he was doing was legal.
According to kerkyrasimera.gr, a similar incident occurred in a church in Corfu, where the Divine Liturgy was not celebrated behind closed doors. On the contrary, more than 15 people were present, including representatives of the local authorities. The Metropolitan was offering Holy Communion to the faithful in front of the cameras.
In a statement, the Archdiocese of Athens stressed that the decisions of the Holy Synod were generally binding on all. In addition, it stated that it faithfully followed the instructions of the competent authorities of the Greek State regarding the effective response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement of the Archdiocese of Athens is the following:
“The Holy Archdiocese of Athens is investigating the incident occurred at the Holy Church of Saint Nikolaos in Koukaki and will take immediate action. It is recalled that the decisions of the Holy Synod are binding on all the clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens and the Holy Metropolises of the Church of Greece and must be strictly observed. The Holy Synod faithfully follows all the instructions of the competent authorities of the State regarding the effective response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Deputy Minister of Civil Protection and Crisis Management, Nikos Chardalias, requested the intervention of a public prosecutor. He stated, “The incidents that took place in churches in Athens (Koukaki) and Corfu constitute a violation of the laws and orders of the Holy Synod and put the life of citizens as well as public health in great danger. I contacted the minister of Justice, who will request that public prosecutors intervene.”