Peristerona, Cyprus, April 13, 2020
“My child ... choose ... what do you want to apply: the law of the state, or the law of Christ?” His Eminence Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou of the Cypriot Orthodox Church told the police officers who disrupted the Divine Liturgy he was celebrating on the Great Feast of Palm Sunday at the Church of Sts. Barnabas and Hilarion in Peristerona.
“Today’s Liturgy will never be forgotten,” Met. Neophytos told the gathered faithful. “While we were reading the Gospel, some very pious, or probably not so pious, disrespectful police officers intruded upon us, but of course in accordance with the ministerial laws and presidential decrees.”
There is a conflict of duties in our present situation, the Metropolitan explained. “One duty is the law of God, Who says what? All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (Jn. 6:37).”
“When the policeman came in, I told him, ‘My child … choose … what do you want to apply: the law of the state or the law of Christ?” Met. Neophytos said.
The faithful have come to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, believing that it is Life itself—both temporal and immortal—having no disease within it. It is, rather, the best medicine for all disease, the Cypriot hierarch said.
“Now, when we close churches and limit Holy Communion and scare people out of coming, it's like closing hospitals,” he added.
“There are ways, if we want it, as they found ways in Orthodox Georgia for the rules of hygiene to be observed, but also for the Body and Blood that defeats death and sickness to be offered to the faithful,” he continued.
“This is the right of the faithful. Just as atheists have rights, so do believers. And I feel that today the rights of the faithful are being violated,” His Eminence lamented.
“What are the faithful at risk of?” the Metropolitan asks, noting that everyone will die, if not from the coronavirus then from something else. “The true, immortal life, beautiful life is elsewhere... That is why we are celebrating, Mr. President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic.”
“That is why we celebrate Pascha: because death has been defeated and the Victor over death is Christ; because our sin has been defeated, because the devil, who has been tempting us all this time, and his representatives, the people, the secrets of the new order of things, have been defeated,” Met. Neophytos proclaimed.