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Politics

Greece Is Seeking the Cooperation of the Orthodox Church

ATHENS — "We are asking for the cooperation of the Church. We are hoping that the Church will reconsider its position," alternate government spokesperson Aristotelia Peloni said on Tuesday on Alpha radio, concerning the Holy Synod's defiance of a government decision banning church attendance on the Epiphany holiday, as a protective measure against Covid-19.

She confirmed that a meeting was held between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the ceremonies to swear in the new members of cabinet.

"Every person must assume their share of responsibility and that also applies to the Church, which is affected and must put up with the consequences of the pandemic, as all of society must do," Peloni added.

She noted that the government has been in constant consultation with the Church since the start of the pandemic and admitted that the Church, on its part, has shown a very responsible attitude on the whole. As for the reason for the government's decision, she explained that the return to the previous restrictions was deemed necessary to protect the epidemiological picture ahead of the priority given to reopening schools, noting that everyone must cooperation for this purpose.

Peloni denied that the government had announced the opening of schools before getting the recommendations of the experts, stressing that their advice was followed and that this was for the opening of primary schools and kindergartens, while the government had only stated its priority. She said that the return to stricter restrictions for a week was done precisely in order to protect the epidemiological picture and allow the opening of schools.

The situation will be monitored and the easing of measures will be carried out one step at a time, with schools remaining a priority and then the return of click-away shopping.

On vaccinations, Peloni said these were progressing according to plan, with 10,000 carried out until Monday.

Replying to questions on the recent government reshuffle, the spokesperson said the government was judged to be successful overall and this was reflected in opinion polls, adding that the reshuffle has not changed its "basic core" but "freshened up the team and boosted some areas of the government's work".

She repeated, however, that elections will be held at the end of the government's four-year term.

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