Greece’s Education and Religion Ministry announced on Thursday that Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece requested an exemption from the coronavirus curfew measures, to carry on liturgies on a normal schedule, behind closed doors.
According to the announcement, Archbishop Ieronymos sent a letter to Minister Niki Kerameus arguing that the exception “will facilitate to the utmost in the mission of the Church, which is obliged to pray and supplicate over the health of its flock, but will also contribute decisively to allowing the lay members of the Church to keep their composure.” He also pointed out that the measures have affected services within hospitals and monasteries, the latter of which live as isolated communities anyway. As he also pointed out, liturgies have been live-streamed.
In a related letter, the Holy Synod requested of the ministry’s secretary general Giorgos Kaladjis that the six reasons to break curfew include ‘individual prayer,’ and those wishing to visit cemeteries and family members’ graves. Current curfew exemption reasons do not include individual prayer at churches.
It must be noted that previous to the curfew restrictions, the government had allowed only emergency services such as funerals, with a restricted number of attendees, and church visits for individual prayers only, with distances kept among the faithful.