Corfu prosecutor charges bishop, mayor over church service, holy communion


Corfu prosecutor Dionysis Lambridis has drawn up charges against Bishop Nektarios of Corfu and the Diapontia islands, the mayor of central Corfu Meropi Ydraiou, the head of the municipal council Dimitris Metallinos and clerics and worshippers who participated in a service held at the Aghios Spyridon church in Corfu Town on Saturday despite the restrictions ordered by both the government and the Holy Synod to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

Three people who attended the service – two men and a woman – were reportedly given holy communion, despite the particularly high risk the ritual poses for the spread of the virus. 

Lambridis, who is a court of first instance prosecutor on the Ionian island, said the case file has been sent to the local police and will be executed in the context of the so-called "aftoforo" law which permits a swift hearing if an arrest is made within 48 hours of an alleged crime.

The government had banned all church services as part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Services will be permitted this week in the runup to Orthodox Easter but only behind closed doors, without the presense of worshippers, with the services to be broadcast.