THE Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has expressed anger over media coverage of the funeral the Metropolitan of Langadas, Ioannis Tassias, inset above, who died the previous Sunday of COVID-19.
Although a statement issued by officials does not specifically mention a report published by Keep Talking Greece – above the headline ‘Priest lifts child to kiss corpse of Bishop who died of Covid-19‘ – this must have been at the at the forefront of their minds when they said:
It is with sadness that some media never cease to target Orthodox Christians, clergy and laity, as their ideological opponent.
In this instance, one can sympathise with the church, for the coffin, topped with a cloths and a bishops’ mitre, was closed.
KTG even published a photo of the the boy being hoisted onto the coffin, saying:
The child is lucky to have its face mask on. Some priests, including the one who lifted it took their masks off to kiss the corpse of the clergyman.
Responding to various reports that there were inadequate COVID-19 precautions taken at the funeral, the statement said that the Church of Greece had issued encyclicals and announcements asking people to comply with the health measures inside and outside the churches and it has:
Never supported the pandemic deniers and never expressed the puerile and pagan view that Orthodox priests or Christians, in general, are not going to get sick because of their status.
The Standing Holy Synod said that, from the beginning of the health crisis, the church continues to cooperate with the state to comply with the health measures, and has urged the clergy and the faithful to comply with the restrictions imposed by the state and suggested by scientific advisors.
As to whether the Church accepts the importance and mission of medical science, it is pointed out what the Holy Bible says: ‘Give doctors the honour they deserve, for the Lord gave them their work to do’ (Sirarch 38:1), emphasising the crucial presence of faith in God for the healing of the believer: ‘But at the same time pray to the Lord; and he will heal you’ (Sirach 38:1).
KTG said that images of the funeral posted on mainstream media websites and social media:
Provoked strong reactions, at a time when coronavirus infections are on the rise across the country, while deaths and intubations increase rapidly and some insist on not even following the basic protection measures. Some news websites commented ‘unacceptable’ and ‘shocking’.
Many comments on socal media express disgustt at the way the the boy’s crotch is being gripped by the priest.
The 62-year-old Bishop of Langadas had diabetes and heart problems and died almost a week after he got infected.
KTG reported that several other Bishops became infected with the virus after participating in the festive religious service of Saint Demetrious on October 26 in Thessaloniki and later at three meetings of the Holy Synod.
Some media and dozens of Greeks on social media have been demanding that “restrictions” and “fines for those violating” should apply also the priests.
Beneath the KTG report, one reader said that what was more concerning than the kid kissing the coffin were:
Pictures of all the people standing in various places to participate in the mass. All of them standing there, cheek by jowl, maskless for the most part. No evidence of social distancing at all … No one seems to care that they are being videotaped and broadcast to the world and showing clear violations of the law.
Greece announced on Saturday, November 14, the closure of its primary schools, kindergartens and daycare centres amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has saturated the national health system.