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Holy Synod urges churches, monasteries to adhere to health rules

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The Holy Synod, the ruling body of the Greek Orthodox Church, said on Tuesday it had renewed its call to churches and monasteries to follow the strict guidelines issued by the government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus ahead of two major religious holidays.

The note was sent to Metropolises and metropolitans around the country who in turn are asked to notify the clergy, monks and nuns and the members of the Ecclesiastical Councils, the Holy synod said in a press release.

The announcement was made as the Church prepares to celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus on August 6, and the Dormition (or the Assumption) of the Virgin Mary (in Greek: Koimisis tis Theotokou) on 15 August, which are religious events during which “a large participation is witnessed in church services and due to the increase in novel coronavirus infections, particularly in Attica.”

The Holy Synod’s call came after Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias announced that mask-wearing will be mandatory for everyone inside retail shops, public service offices, banks, food stores, bakeries and elevators.

Churches are excluded for the time being.

Face coverings were already mandatory in public transport – including ferries and planes – and supermarkets.