Church services will go ahead as normal, the Holy Synod said on Wednesday as it told the faithful to adhere to strict rules of hygiene, assured them that Holy Communion is safe and urged them to go to church on Wednesdays and Fridays so as to avoid large crowds on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in a message on Twitter, President Nicos Anastasiades said he had contacted both Archbishop Chrysostomos and the chairman of CyBC and it was agreed that as part of measures against the coronavirus and particularly the protection of vulnerable groups, church services will be broadcast live on CyBC.
Είχα σήμερα τηλ. επικοινωνία με τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Χρυσόστομο Β' και τον Πρόεδρο του ΡΙΚ @AFrangos. Στο πλαίσιο των μέτρων που λαμβάνονται για τον κορωνοϊό και την προστασία ιδιαίτερα των ευάλωτων ομάδων αποφασίστηκε όπως οι Λειτουργίες μεταδίδονται ζωντανά από το @cybc_com_cy.
— Nicos Anastasiades (@AnastasiadesCY) March 11, 2020
The Holy Synod’s circular followed a decision by the government to prohibit events with more than 75 people as well as a debate on whether the coronavirus can be transmitted by taking Holy Communion.
It said that in view of concern following the announcement of two confirmed cases it wanted to reassure the faithful and urge them to comply with rules of hygiene as per the advice of the state authorities.
- The position of the church is that diseases are not transmitted by taking Holy Communion and it would be blasphemy to consider that the body and blood of Christ could transmit disease or virus. Taking Holy Communion is voluntary and anyone feeling they wish to stay away are free to do so
- The church will continue its services as normal. The faithful are invited to attend but there is no obligation. Nor can the church ask someone to leave if the number exceeds 75, as if it is an ordinary gathering
- Priests and other church staff are asked to pay due to care to the advice of state authorities and ensure cleanliness, good ventilation and frequently clean the icons
- The faithful are also urged to pray to God to help in these difficult times
- Those who wish to take Holy Communion are urged to come to church during Wednesday and Sunday services to avoid large crowds on Sundays