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Greece: Mild Policing Outside Churches on Epiphany Day

ATHENS — Police cars will police the streets outside churches on Epiphany Day, January 6, and also broadcast recorded messages via loudspeakers to prevent potential overcrowding, sources at police headquarters told Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Tuesday.

Policing will be mild and discrete, said sources, as "we would like to avoid any confrontation with civilians."

Greece's Orthodox Church is rebelling against a government order to briefly close places of worship under a weeklong drive to tighten virus restrictions before the planned reopening of schools.

The conservative Church's ruling body issued a statement Monday directing priests to admit worshippers during indoor services for Wednesday's feast of the Epiphany. The Holy Synod said it “does not accept” the new restrictions, in force from Jan. 3-10, and would send a letter of protest to the center-right government.

The government responded with a mildly worded statement voicing hope that the Church “will realize, as it has so far responsibly done, how crucial this time is for (Greek) society.”

It added that Greeks are still free to offer individual prayers in church, but not to attend services. This had not been specified when the restrictions were announced on Jan. 2.

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