The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece is currently holding a meeting through videoconference on its further moves in view of the Holy Week and the ban on worship services in Greece.
According to information, the Holy Synod will ask the government to hold Holy Week services in all churches, without the presence of believers.
It is also expected to announce social actions that each Metropolis will take in support of the citizens.
It is also expected that clarifications will be given on the subject of the Holy Communion as well as who and how many will be able to participate in the Divine Liturgies behind closed doors.
It is reminded that on 29th of March, the government announced that the suspension of the celebration of the Divine Liturgies is extended until the 11th of April.
More specifically, through Joint Ministerial Decision of the Ministers of Education and Religious Affairs and Health, it is announced that the provisional precautionary measures cornering places of religious worship will be extended until the 11th April 2020. The only modification will be that the faithful will have the opportunity to watch the church services online, on television, and on the radio.
It is recalled that the Greek government took the decision to suspend services in all areas of religious worship of any religion or dogma, until 30 April 2020. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made known on 16 March that churches would remain open only to individual prayer. As he pointed out, “The protection of public health requires clear decisions.”
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece sent a letter a few days ago to the Minister of Education, Niki Kerameos, asking her to allow the clergy to normally perform the Divine Liturgy and the religious services behind closed doors.
“This will greatly facilitate the sacred mission of the Church, which has the obligation to ask and pray for the health of that prudent flock, and will also play a decisive role in keeping the laity calm,” Archbishop Ieronymos wrote in his letter. Moreover, the Archbishop made special mention of the temples located in the country’s hospitals that also remain “silent”.
In the letter, the Church of Greece, through the Archbishop, requests authorisation to perform the Divine Liturgy at the monasteries where people live anyway in a communal way.
He also highlighted that the funerals must be allowed to be held in temples outside cemeteries as in many parts of the country cemeteries do not have temples. He also referred to the online broadcast of liturgies.