Kythira, Greece, May 14, 2021
Those priests who celebrated the Paschal services at midnight as usual did nothing wrong, and the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece should stop persecuting them, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira wrote in a letter to the Synod on May 7.
A few days later, it was announced that Met. Seraphim himself, along with His Eminence Metropolitan Kosmas of Aetolia, is also under investigation by the Synod for his criticism of the Synod’s decision that all churches throughout Greece had to celebrate Pascha no later than 9 PM on Holy Saturday evening in order to accommodate the state curfew.
At least 6 priests from Thessaloniki will also stand trial for defying the Synod’s order and the state’s curfew by celebrating Pascha at midnight. Metropolitan Paul of Drama has stated that he himself will report several of his own priests to the local Prosecutor for violating the state curfew.
However, the Synod needs to drop this persecution of faithful priests, Met. Seraphim writes.
“I humbly express the fear,” His Eminence writes, “that in this top and supreme issue, we have focused and deviated from the normal and traditional way by not setting a red line, but succumbing to the burdensome pressures and demands—both illegal and unconstitutional—of the state, in matters of Divine Worship.”
In his view, it is not the few priests who disobeyed the Synod’s order, but the Synod itself and the majority of the clergy who obeyed it who are to blame for the disquiet among the faithful.
The hierarchs of the Holy Synod did not give enough serious time and consideration to the proposal to hold services early, and thus, they made a decision that was “something new, innovative, anti-traditional, irregular and anti-theological,” the Metropolitan tells the Synod.
Elsewhere, His Eminence adds: “I do not intend to judge the actions of the brotherhood of Bishops, but I note that it is a pity and unjust for our clergy to be subjected to internal persecution… In this case, ‘they have done nothing wrong … What evil have they done?’ (cf. Luke 23:42 and Matthew 27:23).”