Temples and other places of worship of a total of 16 officially recognized religious communities in Austria will be able to reopen on May 15, but with some restrictions, as it was officially announced today.
The arrangements for the reopening, which were jointly decided by the government and representatives of the religious communities, stipulate that for every 20 square meters of a place of worship, only one believer can be present, while the minimum distance of two meters between visitors will apply.
According to Federal Minister for Integration at the Federal Chancellery, Susanne Raab, there will be no legal provisions or state controls, and religious communities, who will be adequately trusted by the government, will be responsible for implementing restrictive regulations.
The new regulations concern both Greek Orthodox churches, in the Greek Quarter, in the center of the Austrian capital, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in the Holy Metropolis of Austria and the Church of St. George.
In Austria, the Orthodox are the second largest religious community (after the Roman Catholic Church), numbering up to 500,000 faithful.
There is the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops, chaired by Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Mid-Europe of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
It is noteworthy that the viewers of the Austrian Public Television (ORF) had the unique opportunity to watch last Sunday, for the first time live, the “Agape Vespers” (Vespers of Love), the Service of Easter Sunday, from the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Vienna, which was held without faithful.