Clerics defy government over closure of churches


The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on Monday issued a statement expressing its opposition to the government’s decision to impose a stricter lockdown this week that includes the closure of all churches and other places of worship.

Following a meeting on Monday, the Church’s governing body said that churches would open as originally planned on the holiday of the Epiphany on Wednesday, carrying out services and the customary blessing of the waters ceremony.

The Holy Synod “does not consent to the government’s measures” and insists on what had been agreed, it said, in reference to the original plan to allow churches to open on key dates during the holidays with a limited congregation.

The Holy Synod also accused the government of failing to consult with it before announcing the new lockdown measures on Saturday that are aimed at containing a possible spike in new coronavirus cases from the Christmas and New Year’s holidays ahead of the planned reopening of schools later this month.