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Patriarchate suspends ceremonies, services and events until end-March

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The Istanbul-based Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate issued an announcement on Wednesday suspending all public ceremonies, services and events at churches and allowing only individual prayer, in a bid to contain the coronavirus epidemic.

The Patriarchate also said that members of the general public and pilgrims would not be allowed into monasteries or glebes for the duration of the ban, which is slated to run until the end of March. Religious life within monasteries would continue as usual, it added.

In its announcement, the Patriarchate called on the faithful to “restrict their outings and circulation in public and to stay at home as much as possible, for their own safety and for the protection of the community.” It added that the decisions and orders of the health authorities should be upheld, “for the common good.”

The announcement also hailed health workers for their “superhuman” efforts at the frontline of the pandemic.