Serres, Greece, May 19, 2020
Although it respected the laws of the state, “The Orthodox [Church of Greece] felt that it was at the forefront of the government’s austerity,” His Eminence Metropolitan Theologos of Serres and Nigrita told local media after Sunday’s Divine Liturgy.
“The Church respected the laws of the state, following its measures, despite the fact that many times it felt that these measures were strictly enforced almost only in the Church,” His Eminence explained, reports Romfea.
Other hierarchs have expressed similar views. Late last month, His Eminence Metropolitan HIerotheos (Vlachos) stated that the Church was being treated as worse than a supermarket or hair salon when it was announced that such business would reopen while parishioners still could not attend Divine services.
And addressing the scandal around the Minister of Education Niki Kerameus’ statements about the possibility of contracting the coronavirus by the act of communing, Met. Theologos stressed: “We wonder why these things are being officially said about Holy Communion. While we respect science and its findings, the area of faith is another area into which we should enter with great respect.”
Just as the Church does not devalue science, so no one should devalue the people’s faith, the Metropolitan said. “Faith has a specific object and a specific goal, and the goal is Holy Communion,” and this faith should not be used to create fear in people’s hearts, the hierarch believes.
“After all, the Church does not force anyone to come to Communion. It is the sole responsibility of every faithful person,” he added.
On Sunday, His Eminence Metropolitan Ambrose, the retired hierarch of Kalavryta, pronounced an excommunication against Minister Kerameus as well as Prime Minster Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Deputy Minister of Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias, though the Holy Synod quickly announced that no individual hierarch has the authority to excommunicate.
Kerameus responded that the government has acted responsibly to protect its citizens, saying, “Let’s not let some extreme positions and actions tarnish the climate and all these important things that we have all gained together.”