Greek Orthodox faithful attended Sunday services, despite warnings to avoid overcrowded places due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pictures and videos circulated on social media show churches throughout the country at least half-empty.
Many worshipers are seen accepting holy communion, which is the wine-soaked bread symbolizing Christ’s blood and flesh that worshipers consume from the same spoon.
Δεν υπάρχει σωτηρία..
Σε ζωντανή σύνδεση πριν 3 ώρες απο την ΕΡΤ2.
Ολοι κοινωνούν απο το ίδιο κουτάλι..
Μόνο θλίψη προκαλεί το γεγονός ότι η επίσημη εκκλησία γράφει στα παλιά της παπούτσια τις οδηγίες που έχει δώσει η πολιτεία#καραντινα#κλειστε_τις_εκκλησιες_τωρα #κορονοϊος pic.twitter.com/3qeM2Cx7B8
— Ακροκεντρώος (@akrokentrwos) March 15, 2020
Archbishop Ieronymos on Friday urged the faithful to display “a spirit of responsibility,” saying their faith would not be in doubt if they didn’t go to church.
In his statement on Friday, Ieronymos reiterated the Church’s call for worshipers to follow Health Ministry hygiene guidelines. But he did not appear to shift on holy communion, instead of condemning criticism from “ostensibly elitist circles.”
By contrast, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on Saturday advised the faithful “in the coming weeks not to be exposed to public places (including the church).”
The Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago put out a statement that all liturgical services will be suspended with immediate effect due to coronavirus.
Related: Greek Orthodox Church Drags Its Feet in the Age of Coronavirus