Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Limassol bishop’s actions ‘irresponsible but not illegal’ AG says

Bishop Athanasios of Limassol

Limassol Bishop Athanasios’ decision to hold a church service earlier to avoid a ban on mass gatherings was irresponsible but not illegal, the attorney-general said on Friday.

Athanasios had changed the time of the March 24 service to 4pm from 6pm, the time a government decree came into effect banning unnecessary circulation and all visits to churches, mosques, and other religious venues.

Clerides said the decision could not be considered illegal.

“With all due respect however, these actions can only be described as irresponsible,” Clerides said.

From the moment the state – based on medical and other scientific data – judged that mass gatherings of people involve grave dangers of spreading the virus and it not only recommends, but it bans assemblies and movement “the only proper action under the circumstances would be the immediate cancellation of the scheduled gathering and not moving it two hours earlier as if the danger would vanish … and as if the government ban was an end in itself and not a measure to protect people,” the AG said.

People should realise that religious devotion must be applied in observing the protective measures and not in causing further problems, Clerides said.

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