Church ban expanded; closed-door services likely

Church ban expanded; closed-door services likely

The government has extended measures banning all services at churches and other places of worship from March 30 to April 11. The new date is just a week ahead of Greek Orthodox Easter, the biggest event on the country’s religious calendar.

Religious Affairs Minister Niki Kerameus, however, left open the possibility for services to take place without a congregation, as demanded by Archbishop Ieronymos.

“We will examine, shortly before Holy Week, whether the conditions allow us to proceed with services behind closed doors,” Kerameus said in comments to state broadcaster ERT Monday.

“We are open to discussion with all of the religious communities and, of course, with Archbishop Ieronymos,” she added.

The government has resisted the idea over concerns that priests might come under pressure from members of their congregations to open church doors, particularly in rural areas.

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