Athens, January 4, 2021
Despite its initial decision that churches would be open to a limited number of faithful for Nativity, New Year’s, and Theophany, the Greek government announced on Saturday that the feast of Theophany and the Great Blessing of the Waters will be served by the clergy in closed churches without any parishioners.
The state’s new week-long restriction measures went into effect at 6:00 AM on Sunday and continue until January 10.
However, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece voiced its protest to the stringent measures during its remotely-held session today under the chairmanship of Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens. According to Romfea’s information, the Synod intends to operate according to the previous decision according to which the faithful to come to church to celebrate the great feast of Theophany.
According to the Synodal statement, the Holy Synod disagrees with the new governmental measures and insists on what was originally agreed upon with the state, allowing the faithful to attend the Divine Liturgy and the Blessing of Waters on the feast of Theophany. The Synod emphasizes that the hierarchs and clergy observed the state sanitary measures during the services for Nativity.
The Synod sent an official letter of protest to the Greek government, emphasizing the need for dialogue to resolve issues concerning Church-state relations.
The hierarchs also call upon the Greek government and the EU to ensure that a sufficient number of approved vaccines be provided or Greek citizens.