Greek Orthodox church to defy government, reopen for Epiphany on January 6

Greek Orthodox church to defy government, reopen for Epiphany on January 6
The Associated Press / Yorgos Karahalis

The Greek Orthodox Church announced that they will defy government orders forcing places of worship to close in order to celebrate a major feast day this week.

According to The Guardian,

After an emergency session of the holy synod, its governing body, senior clerics said they would press ahead as planned and celebrate [the Feast of the Epiphany, i.e.] the baptism of Christ on 6 January.

“The synod does not agree with the new government measures regarding the operation of places of worship and insists on what was originally agreed with the state,” the ecclesiastical body said in a statement.

The move by the Church to reopen comes after the Greek government announced another lockdown.

The measures were partially relaxed before Christmas, when churches and nonessential shops were allowed to resume some activities — albeit with limitations — together with hair salons and nail parlors.

All these have now been closed for a week as authorities hope to contain the virus spread so schools can reopen on Jan. 11 after a two-month hiatus. Priests are allowed to conduct Epiphany church services, but without admitting worshippers.

The Holy Synod also urged the European Union and Greek governments to ensure vaccinations are “secured for citizens.”