The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece issued a statement on Monday referring to the Covid19 coronavirus outbreak, maintaining that Holy Communion does not transmit the virus.
The new, controversial statement comes after days of heated public debate in Greece about whether the Church of Greece should adopt more drastic measures to limit the potential spread of the disease through its liturgies and the Holy Eucharist.
”For the members of the Church, attending the Holy Eucharist … certainly cannot be a cause of disease transmission,” the Holy Synod declared in its statement.
”Faithful of all ages know that coming to receive Holy Communion, even in the midst of a pandemic, is both a practical affirmation of self-surrender to the Living God, and an apparent manifestation of love,” the Greek Orthodox Church averred. The statement will undoubtedly spark another public controversy on the subject.
The Church’s declaration included a series of self-protection measures that all people should follow, including frequent handwashing and the use of antiseptic products as well as parishioners keeping a personal distance from one another.
It also suggested that those who belong to sensitive population groups should stay at home; however, it did not encourage them to stay away from liturgies.
It is noted that the Greek Orthodox Church of America recently issued a similar statement. There, Archbishop Elpidophoros did encourage those who are ill not to attend the services of the Church, saying that ”we counsel those feeling unwell physically to refrain from liturgical assemblies until they are certain of their diagnosis.”
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