Greek Metropolitan found not guilty of holding services during pandemic

Piraeus, Greece, November 23, 2022

Met. Seraphim of Kythira. Photo: Met. Seraphim of Kythira. Photo:     

His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kythira of the Orthodox Church of Greece was found not guilty yesterday of violating the COVID lockdown in March 2020.

The hierarch was arrested on Friday, March 20, 2020, for opening the doors of Holy Cross Cathedral and inviting the faithful to pray at the Salutations to the Theotokos. The state had ordered at that time that all services be canceled.

Met. Seraphim said several times throughout the pandemic that closing churches only exacerbates the situation.

According to the Orthodoxia News Agency, the trial at the Criminal Court of Piraeus lasted all of 15 minutes yesterday. His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus testified as a defense witness during the speedy trial.

When His Eminence was acquitted, in agreement with the Prosecutor’s proposal, the court room broke out into applause.

Met. Seraphim and His Eminence Metropolitan Kosmas of Aetolia found themselves in trouble with ecclesiastical authorities the next year when they opposed the Holy Synod’s decision to celebrate Pascha several hours early, in light of lockdown measures.

The Metropolitans explained their stance before the Holy Synod in August, though the other hierarchs deemed their explanation insufficient and called on the two to renew their episcopal vows and give their assurance of future compliance with Synodal decisions.

In October 2020, His Eminence Metropolitan Nektarios of Corfu was acquitted of all charges related to celebrating the services during the lockdown, but last month, Protopresbyter Anastasios Gotsopoulos was convicted for the same offense, though he received a suspended sentence of 8 months in prison.

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OC11/24/2022 9:34 pm
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