LAST UPDATE 22:28
The Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece, which met today at noon and for almost six hours, in order to make decisions about her stance on the issue of the coronavirus, desided to suspend all worship services except Sunday Divine Liturgies, which will be held as usual between 7 and 8 o’clock in the morning.
The Holy Synod also informs the faithful that the Holy Mysteries will be held in a close family circle if they cannot be cancelled.
Funeral services will be held in the presence of close relatives only, whereas memorial services will be held on the graves only.
The Holy Synod urges seniors and people with health problems to stay at home.
It adopts immediately all measures that the Greek State is taking to deal with the spread of the coronavirus and will do the same with everything else indicated in relation to the course of the coronavirus in the immediate future.
The Church of Greece recommends calmness, restraint, trust in the Health Authorities and the Government and urges the avoidance of panic and insecurity. It reiterates that it is everyone’s responsibility to comply with the rules of hygiene and the mandates of the competent Public Health Services in accordance with the previous Circulars of the Holy Synod.
In the first part of the SHS’s joint meeting with the Metropolitans of Attica, following the briefing by infectious disease specialist Sotiris Tsiodras, the discussion between the priests was intense.
There were two dominant trends created between the hierarchs. The main expressors of the one trend were the Metropolitans of Messinia, of Piraeus, of Kaisariani and of Nea Smyrni, whereas the other trend was mostly supported by the Metropolitans of Nea Ionia, of Nea Krini and of Paronaxia.
They argued that if such a decision were to be made it should be made by the Government and not by the Church, even by using the argument that if the Church of Greece decides to close its own temples, the respective temples of the Old Calendarist Church would remain open, and so would the Protestant congregations.
The Archbishop, for his part, has shown that he understands the need for immediate action both for the protection of the population and for the protection of the Church herself.
He proposed to follow the model of the Church of Crete with open temples to visit and to perform the necessary services with little or without crowd, giving also the opportunity to those wishing to receive the Holy Communion at home, to do so by the priests of their parishes.