Morphou Bishop Neophytos has defied the archbishop’s instructions for people to stay away from churches until April 10 in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, asking staff in his jurisdiction to continue to hold services, as scheduled.
In a statement to clergy and other staff, Neophytos said traditionally, the faithful turned to the church in times of difficulty and received Holy Communion, the body and blood of Christ.
“Thus, we cannot, on account of the current coronavirus pandemic, blame the Body and Blood of Christ as the source of death,” he said, reiterating that it would be blasphemy.
He urged church staff within the diocese to continue with the programme without interruption. “We, the humble and few, will shoulder the burden and heat of the day for the faithful and those of little faith.”
Limassol Bishop followed suit later Monday, announcing that all services in the run up to Easter will be held as scheduled.
Archbishop Chrysostomos on Sunday urged people to refrain from going to church for three weeks in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
His appeal followed the announcement of strict measures by the government, which included the need for a medical certificate for anyone travelling to Cyprus, including its own citizens.