Greek Bishops in the trenches over government’s decision for closed Churches during Christmas

15 December 2020
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While the official Church, as expressed by Archbishop Ieronymos, is waiting for an improved proposal by the Greek government on its decision to keep churches closed during the Christmas period, except on Christmas day and Epiphany celebrations, many Hierarchs are in a combative mode, as they are ready to ring mourning bells to denounce the government or even violate the decision.

In light of tomorrow’s Permanent Holy Synod, the discussions between the Hierarchs are ongoing. Some bishops are promoting a more patient approach, expecting an “improved proposal” from the government, considering that there is still time for a change in the decision.  There are many who dub the government’s decision to open the temples on Christmas day and Epiphany with only a few faithful empty of any substance.

As they argue, it is difficult to select which faithful enter the temple, then close the doors to the remaining. “It is better for the situation to remain as it is”, some Hierarchs say, that is, for the priests to perform the services themselves behind closed doors. “The measure is difficult to implement,” they claim. Tomorrow, Tuesday, the Provincial Synod of the Church of Crete will hold an extraordinary meeting.

The priests are in the “trenches” outrightly refusing to accept the government’s decision to open the Churches only on Christmas Day and the Epiphany, while fines for violating the measures have already begun, as in a church in Koropi, where the Metropolitan of the Mesogea Nikolaos threatens that the fines will be paid from the money collected by the faithful and intended for the poor. Tomorrow, Tuesday, the Provincial Synod of the Church of Crete will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the situation. The Church of Crete is under the ecclesiastical authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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