Churches in Greece will be open for individual prayer, while services will be allowed with the presence of up to 25 people allowed in churches and up to 50 people in metropolitan cathedrals.
This decision came after Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece spoke with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The updated church measures was approved by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece and the country's team of epidemiologists.
According to the announcement:
- Churches will remain open for the faithful both for worship and private prayer, as well as for attendance on Christmas Day, New Year and Epiphany on January 6
- Measures to avoid overcrowding: one person per 15 square meters, with a minimum distance of 2 meters between them and with the obligatory use of a mask
- Services will be allowed with the presence of up to 25 people allowed in churches and up to 50 people in metropolitan cathedrals
The announcement also urged dioceses, parishes, monasteries and institutions, as well as the clergy and laity, to strictly observe the measures to contain the spread of covid-19 during the holiday season.
The traditional throwing of the cross during Epiphany celebrations is also banned.
Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Athens, Athanasios Tsakris, told Skai TV that the country’s epidemiologists gave the OK to increase the number of people inside churches stressing that “there will be no problem if the precautionary measures are properly implemented, i.e the use of a mask, the ventilation of the temples before and after the service.”
"The Church has played a very important role in proper implementation of protection measures," he added.
Greece introduces gathering limits for Christmas and New Years
No more than nine people (from two households) should gather in the same house, in order to avoid overcrowding.