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Greek Priest Who Held COVID-19 Mass Fined, Police Attacked

November 23, 2020

ATHENS — Defiance among some priests who won't obey the COVID-19 second lockdown led to a cleric in a northern village fined 1500 euros ($1782) – but not arrested – for holding a service and allowing two people to attend.

Neither he or where it happened was reported although the priest's 30-year-old son and one of the worshippers were arrested after they attacked police trying to issue the fine against the priest.

The priest had been urging his parishioners to attend, despite a ban, telling them,  “You’re either with Christ or the Coronavirus,” despite the rising number of cases, deaths, people put in Intensive Care Units (ICU's) and clerics in the Church also being infected and wanting to give Holy Communion.

Authorities are strictly enforcing a lockdown and nightly curfew after a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. In the northern city of Thessaloniki, where most cases have appeared, an 18-year-old university student was given a 6-month suspended sentence and fined 3,000 euros ($3,560) for hosting her birthday party, which police raided at 1.30 am Saturday. The six guests were fined 300 euros ($356) each.

Health authorities announced 1,498 new coronavirus cases Sunday, along with 103 deaths, five less than the daily record set Saturday. The number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic is 91,619, with 1,630 deaths.

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