Greek Orthodox church rebels on lockdown

Takis Tsafos
·1-min read

The Greek Orthodox Church is planning to rebel against the restrictions on churches imposed by the government over the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.

"We order all churches to remain open for the Feast of the Epiphany," Bishop Anthinagoras, a spokesperson for the Holy Synod, told state television broadcaster ERT.

He said that applied even if the police were to intervene.

The bishop said that all of the regulations imposed over the Christmas period had been followed.

They required mask wearing and that distancing be maintained at mass, with only one believer allowed per 15 square metres.

Church officials agreed that this year believers would not jump into the water at ports, as is traditional on Epiphany.

Greece tightened restrictions on January 2, reversing easing that had been permitted for Christmas and New Year's Eve, after case numbers rose again.

Now, the traditional feast of Epiphany may only take place in closed churches, attended by priests and sextons but without the faithful.

Traditionally in Greece, priests throw a Holy Cross into the water to celebrate the baptism of Christ and hundreds of people jump into the harbour or lakes in hopes of retrieving the cross.

The first person to find it is said to have a greater chance of health and happiness in the new year.