Greek Orthodox Church Faces Criticism as Virus Hits Its Ranks

Conservative authorities officers have mainly blamed overcrowding in bars and eating places and appear loath to level the finger on the church, though the illness has clearly unfold by way of the ranks of the clergy in current weeks — significantly afflicting older members who’re most susceptible to the virus.

At least six of the church’s 80 bishops in Greece have caught the virus, together with 62-year-old Bishop Ioannis of Lagadas in northern Greece, who died from it on Nov. 15. But the precise variety of contaminated clerics isn’t recognized, as some haven’t made their diseases public, calling it “a personal issue,” church officers stated.

“Some clergy, hierarchs included, seem to act as though they believe themselves to be immune to the disease,” stated George Demacopoulos, a co-director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham University. “We are seeing the tragic results of this sort of thinking.”

Although Greece initially fared comparatively nicely in dealing with the pandemic, the second wave has proved more durable to curb. As of Friday, the nation had 113,185 confirmed instances and a couple of,804 deaths, with a lot of the deaths recorded over the previous month.

Archbishop Ieronymos examined optimistic for Covid-19 on Nov. 16, two days after assembly Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis amid the nation’s newest lockdown to debate the opening of church buildings for Christmas. (Mr. Mitsotakis subsequently examined detrimental).

Other Orthodox church buildings in Europe have additionally been struck by the virus.

The Orthodox patriarch of Serbia, Irinej, 90, and the patriarch of Montenegro, Amfilohije, 82, each died from it in current weeks. The Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios, a 91-year-old ethnic Greek, was flown in for therapy on the similar Athens hospital that handled Archbishop Ieronymos final month.