After weeks of lockdown, overjoyed Greeks return to church

ATHENS (Reuters) – Thousands of Greeks returned to church on Sunday after weeks of staying away as a ban on mass gatherings to curb the unfold of the coronavirus was eased.

Orthodox trustworthy respect social distancing as they attend the primary service open for believers following the easing of measures towards the unfold of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), in Athens, Greece, May 17, 2020. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

It was a particular second for many who gathered from early Sunday morning within the courtyard of Ayios Spiridonas Church in Piraeus, the place the melodious chants of the Sunday liturgy had been broadcast on loudspeakers and heard down to the ocean port.

“I can’t describe my feelings. After two and a half months of quarantine we are in our church again,” mentioned Stella Kasimati, 76. “We are allowed what we were deprived of for two and a half months, going to church and Holy Communion,” she informed Reuters.

Greeks weren’t solely disadvantaged of weekly congregations however had to spend the spotlight of their non secular calendar, Easter, which was on April 19, indoors. The lockdown was launched in mid-March.

Normally adjoining pews had been changed with chairs contained in the church and in its courtyard as social distancing guidelines utilized. Chairs had been set two metres aside with boundaries within the courtyard marked with purple and white masking tape.

Disposable gloves and antiseptic was obtainable on the entrance. Some people kissed icons, as is customary within the Greek Orthodox faith. A lady wiped the icon with an antiseptic earlier than the following particular person approached.

Church warden Petros Anagnostakis, 74, mentioned preparations to reopen the church had been ongoing for a few week. “Today is a great celebration, we are overjoyed and touched, it’s a great celebration for us,” he mentioned, visibly moved.

In unison, churchgoers recited the Creed, a declaration of religion in God and Jesus.

Greece has recorded a decrease quantity of COVID-19 circumstances and deaths than different nations. By Saturday night it had recorded 2,819 circumstances and 162 deaths.

“I think it’s a miracle that Greece didn’t have that many deaths or people sick,” mentioned Kasimati. “I believe that was help from God.”

Writing by Michele Kambas; enhancing by Jason Neely

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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