Corfu, Greece, October 19, 2020
Greek authorities opened a criminal case against His Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios of Corfu in April after he celebrated the Divine Liturgy under quarantine conditions on the feast of Palm Sunday and communed several faithful.
The restrictions did not prohibit communing a few faithful he said at the time, arguing that, “if we disconnect Holy Communion from the Sacrament of the Divine Liturgy, then we abolish the mission of the Church.”
The charges were brought by the Prosecutor of Corfu at the request of the Prosecutor of the Greek Supreme Court.
His trial opened today on the island of Corfu. 15 hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Church have arrived on the island since yesterday to stand by their brother hierarch, reports Romfea.
A number of clergy and faithful also gathered outside the courthouse in support of their archpastor, shouting “Axios!” as he arrived.
Abbot Gabriel (Nikiforidis) of the Holy Monastery of St. Kyriaki commented outside the courthouse: “Today is a feast, Pascha, the Resurrection, because one of the 80 bishops stood up in these difficult days… The issue is the criminalization of Holy Communion.”
Met. Nektarios’ defense witnesses include His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, Fr. Nicholas Loudovikos, and Protopresbyter Themistoklis Mourtzanos.
Celebrating the Divine Liturgy yesterday, His Eminence entreated the prayers of his flock, and thanking them for their love, he stressed: “We are accused of the crime of having communed with believers … for having respected the voice of our conscience, and although we did not endanger public health, we did our highest duty to God, the Church and our people. We obey God’s orders. We feel sad because there is a general climate of fear, submission, and the abolition of freedom.”
“We say ‘God first!’ We respect and obey human laws when they do not conflict with the laws of our faith,” His Eminence added.