The Greek government has called for an investigation by the Prosecutor’s office over two incidents that occured in churches in Koukaki, Athens and on the island of Corfu, where priests offered Holy Communion to the faithful, contrary to instruction by the Holy Synod.
The first incident that became known happened on Sunday morning at the Church of Agios Nikolaos in Koukaki, where a priest offered Holy Communion from the back door of the church.
In a statement following the news of the incident, the Archdiocese of Athens stressed that the decisions of the Holy Synod are binding on all. "The Holy Archdiocese of Athens is investigating the whole incident at the Holy Temple of Agios Nikolaos in Koukaki and will take immediate action. It is recalled that the decisions of the Holy Synod are binding on all the clergy of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens and the Holy Metropolises of the Church of Greece and must be strictly observed. The Holy Synod faithfully follows all the measures and all the instructions of the competent authorities of the State for the effective treatment of the coronavirus pandemic," the statement reads.
According to reports, the priest was noticed by the residents of the area, who called him to stop, but he claimed that what he was doing was legal.
The other incident occurred in Corfu. Local media kerkyrasimera.gr, reported that the holy relics of Saint Spyridon were put on show inside the church and Holy Communion was performed despite prohibitions. Fifteen people were reportedly present inside the church.
“What happened today in churches in Koukaki and Corfu is a violation of the laws and orders of the Holy Synod and endangers the lives of citizens and public health. I contacted the Minister of Justice in order to request from the prosecutor’s office to initiate legal proceedings,” Deputy Minister of Civil Protection, Nikos Hardalias said.