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Greek Holy Synod Urges COVID-19 Protection for Religious Festivals

July 29, 2020

ATHENS – While exempt from COVID-19 health protocols, the Greek Orthodox Church to nevertheless advise use of measures to prevent the spread of the virus with two major religious holidays looming, the ruling body Holy Synod said.

A  note was sent to Metropolises and Metropolitans around the country who were told to notify the clergy, monks and nuns and the members of the Ecclesiastical Councils, the Holy Synod said in a press release, reported Kathimerini.

The Church is preparing to celebrate the Transfiguration of Jesus on Aug.  6, and the Dormition (or the Assumption) of the Virgin Mary on Aug. 15 which are religious events during which “a large participation is witnessed in church services and due to the increase in novel Coronavirus infections, particularly in Attica,” the Church said.

Other festivals had been prohibited to hold down COVID-19 that has begun spiking again with people ignoring health measures and tourists bringing the virus with them despite tests conducted at airports.

Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias announced that mask-wearing will be mandatory for everyone inside retail shops, public service offices, banks, food stores, bakeries and elevators but not in churches although they are major public gathering spots where the virus can breed and spread and Holy Communion given.

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