- Title: In era of coronavirus, Greek church says Holy Communion will carry on
- Date: 9th March 2020
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (FILE - APRIL 14, 2017) (REUTERS) PARISHIONERS LISTENING TO GOOD FRIDAY CEREMONY INSIDE METROPOLITAN CATHEDRAL OF ATHENS WOMAN CROSSING HERSELF PEOPLE LIGHTING CANDLES CANDLES BEING LIT WOMAN CROSSING HERSELF AND LIGHTING CANDLE CANDLES MAN AND WOMAN CROSSING THEMSELVES AND KISSING ICON OF CHRIST MAN KISSING ICON OF CHRIST AND CROSSING HIMSELF
- Embargoed: 23rd March 2020 17:47
- Keywords: Coronavirus Good Friday Greek Orthodox Church Holy Communion Holy Synod believers
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA002C4C075Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Greece's Orthodox Church said on Monday (March 9) the Holy Communion ritual, the partaking of wine soaked in bread from the same chalice for atonement from sins, would continue despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Debate has raged in deeply religious Greece, where some 95 percent of the population is Greek Orthodox, on whether it would be prudent for the Church to continue the ritual, where worshippers line up to sip from the same spoon dipped in the chalice.
The Greek Orthodox Church attempted to put a stop to the chatter on Monday: "This cannot be the cause of the spread of illness," the Holy Synod, the ruling body of the Church, said in a statement.
But not everyone is convinced.
"I'm not saying that its bad to do that (Holy Communion), but there is a 50-50 chance you could catch it," said Greek resident George Moros.
"I think it's a mistake, I would prefer that they used disposable spoons," said Cypriot Chrystalla Pavlou.
Some Greeks said they would continue a ritual many consider part of their identity as Christians.
"My opinion is that faith strengthens your immune system. If you really believe, you won't catch it," said teacher Michalis Kalatzis.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Greece stood at 84 on Monday. Many people have mild symptoms.
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