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Cyprus

Police investigating Limassol bishop for holding mass on Tuesday

Bishop of Limassol Athanasios

Limassol police said on Thursday they are investigating whether the Limassol bishopric broke the law by allowing a mass to take place in church on Tuesday.

The case emerged after Sigma TV showed in one of its reports that more people than the permitted amount were let into the church during a mass at the Panayia Pantanassa church in Limassol. The mass took place last Tuesday just a couple of hours before the ban on movement came into force.

Limassol Bishop Athanasios had announced on Tuesday that the 6pm service would be held at 4pm, instead. The report showed that the church was full of people.

Though initially a government decree limited indoor public gatherings to up to 75 people, the latest decree banned all visits to churches, mosques, and other religious venues. The only exemptions were for funerals, weddings, or baptisms where no more than 10 people are allowed to attend.

Police said they have started taking testimonies including from Limassol Bishop Athanasios and are expected to receive instructions from the legal service on how to deal with the case.

Despite the ban on movement which also includes the building and lighting of Easter bonfires, police found that young persons were ignoring it.

Head of the Limassol CID, Ioannis Soteriades told the Cyprus News Agency that young people continue to gather outside churches to light bonfires. He called on parents to be stricter with their children to obey the regulations.

Soteriades also said that they reported 65 persons within the last 24 hours in Limassol, found to violate the ban on movement.

The majority concerned pedestrians and drivers who did not obtain permission to be outside. Another case concerns a barber shop that remained open and another a forex company for not abiding by the rule on one person per 8 square metres.

 



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