Agia Varvara and Patras, Greece, April 6, 2020
More than 100 people were fined in two separate incidences over the weekend in Greece for violating the state-mandated quarantine to go to church.
The first incident occurred on Friday afternoon, April 3 at the Church of the Prophet Elijah in Agia Varvara, where about 100 parishioners had gathered, reports Russian Athens.
The police arrived and issued fines of $160 (150 euros) to those present. An investigation has been launched and one person was arrested.
A video of the incident shows that some people left when the police arrived, while others remained, shouting, “Get your hands off the church!”
A similar incident occurred yesterday morning, April 5, when dozens gathered at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Patras, allegedly by invitation of the priest.
The police issued fines to many of those present, the church was closed, and the parishioners went home.
A government spokesman, Stelios Petsas, referred to the incidents, noting that the government is considering the Holy Synod’s request to celebrate the services of Holy Week and Pascha behind closed doors, but it is concerned about such incidents, reports exapsalmos.gr.
“These phenomena have nothing to do with the faithful but with the fanatics. We tell them with all due respect that our faith is not tested. Our collective maturity is being tested and, in this ordeal, the vast majority of Greeks are doing well,” Petsas said.
Clergy and faithful in Greece and Montenegro were also arrested last week for breaking their respective quarantine regimes.