The Greek government has expressed deep concerns about the Orthodox Church’s decision to allow the faithful to venerate and kiss the Epitaph on Holy Friday of Easter.
According to two clauses in a paragraph of the Holy Synod’s encyclical sent out to the priests of the whole country in relation to the recent Joint Ministerial Decision, which provides for liturgies behind closed doors, the faithful will be permitted to line up and venerate and kiss the Epitaph for 4 hours after the end of Good Friday’s liturgy.
The governments is particularly worried about the second provision of two which states the following with regards to the veneration of the Epitaph and the opening of churches:
– for two hours after the end of the morning services, from 11 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon, and
– for four hours after the Apokathelosis Service (un-nailing of Christ from the Cross) on Good Friday – from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas reiterated during his press briefing on Thursday that there was not an option for people to go to the Church under the current regulations, clarifying that “someone who is on the move for another reason can apply via phone for what we call individual worship.”
“We are examining various issues so that there is no overcrowding. In any case, we do not go to the Churches and follow the instructions of the experts “, said Mr. Petsas, commenting on the general stance of the Holy Synod after the issuance of the circular that “the Church has shown a responsible attitude during this period of hard decision-making”.