Covid-19 outbreak: Greek govt orders suspension of religious services in all places of worship in the country until March 30

Monday, 16 March 2020 23:31
UPD:17/03/2020 14:47
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The Greek government on Monday evening reacted in an uncharacteristically swift manner to an earlier lukewarm decision, by the influential Church of Greece, to keep cathedrals open, albeit for "personal worship", in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, with a relevant minister saying every type of religious service or rite in places of worship will be suspended until March 30.

Although the decision only an hour earlier by the Holy Synod of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece included dire warnings to its faithful to heed guidelines and precautions issued by public health officials, it nevertheless left open a "window" for organized Church attendance by congregants, saying a "very basic" Divine Liturgy would be held between 7 and 8 a.m. on Sundays, and on March 25, a religious holiday.

In a Tweet on the Greek prime minister's account, Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis issued a stern statement by which "... under a government decision all services are suspended for all places of religious worship, for every confession and every religion. Churches will remain open for individual worship. The protection of public health requires clear decisions."

Funeral services and interment rites are excluded, although restrictions on the number of mourners is applicable, while individual worship will have to abide by recently enacted precautions for closed public places, such as super markets, where the number of people in a building will depend on its floor size.

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