x

Society

Greece’s Archbishop Hospitalized with Coronavirus Symptoms

November 19, 2020

ATHENS — The head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, has been hospitalized after being diagnosed with COVID-19, a leading Athens hospital said Thursday. 

The 82-year-old archbishop was hospitalized in an augmented care unit of Athens' Evangelismos Hospital, the same hospital where the Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios, is being treated for COVID-19 since being airlifted to Greece last week. 

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas expressed the government's wishes for speedy recovery to Ieronymos. The archbishop had met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday, but Petsas said both men had undergone a coronavirus test before the meeting and the results had been negative. 

Petsas said there was no need for the prime minister to self-isolate as a precaution as he had also tested negative before his trip to the United Arab Emirates earlier this week. 

The recent death of a senior clergyman in the Greek Orthodox Church has revived a debate over the safety of receiving communion during the pandemic, as a shared spoon is used for the whole congregation. 

The church insists there can be no danger of transmission as communion is the blood and body of Christ and therefore cannot transmit any disease. It says it has complied with all public safety restrictions. 

Metropolitan Bishop Ioannis of Lagadas, 62, was buried earlier this week after dying of COVID-19. The town of Lagadas near the northern city of Thessaloniki, is in a region currently experiencing the highest rate of infection in a surge of the coronavirus in Greece. 

A nationwide lockdown has been imposed until the end of the month in an effort to get the spread under control. Greece, a country of about 11 million people, currently has more than 82,000 confirmed positive coronavirus cases and nearly 1,300 deaths.

The bishop had been an outspoken advocate of continuing communion during the coronavirus pandemic, and the church's governing body, the Holy Synod, hit out at critics who reacted to his death by saying the practice of communion harbors dangers of spreading the virus.

"Certain aspiring leaders of public opinion are insisting in a neurotic manner on concentrating exclusively on Holy Communion," a statement from the Synod said Monday. "They cite unscientific correlations with the spread of the coronavirus, in defiance of epidemiological evidence."

Greek health experts have mostly avoided commenting on church practices but have noted that World Health Organization guidelines list saliva droplets as a leading means of contamination.

RELATED

ATHENS — A Greek helicopter pilot was sentenced to life in prison Monday for killing his British-Greek wife in their home on the outskirts of Athens and trying to mislead police for weeks by claiming she was killed by intruders in a brutal house invasion.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mitsotakis Meets with Biden at the White House (Video)

WASHINGTON, DC – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday, in the first day of an official two-day visit to the American capital.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.