Greek Orthodox Church tells priests to defy COVID-19 lockdown orders

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Thou shall not comply with the lockdown.

The Greek Orthodox Church told priests Monday not to observe the government’s edict to close houses of worship, as a part of the country’s new, tightened coronavirus restrictions.

The conservative church issued a statement directing religious leaders to allow worshipers to congregate indoors for Wednesday’s feast of the Epiphany services.

The Holy Synod said it “does not accept” the one-week restriction issued in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 before the planned reopening of schools.

The Jan. 3-10 lockdown comes after Greece closed schools and largely suspended economic activity in November due to soaring infections that nearly filled hospitals to capacity.

Those measures were partially relaxed before Christmas, allowing churches to resume some activities.

But officials are now rebooting the strict regulations for a week, ahead of a planned Jan. 11 school reopening.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Orthodox officials have had a mixed response to health and safety measures, ranging from mild support to severe opposition.

Greece has fared better at managing the virus than many other European nations, with approximately 136,000 confirmed cases in total and fewer than 5,000 deaths, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

With Post wires

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