Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: ‘Holy Synod has responsibility for Easter arrangements’

Churches are generally crowded for the Easter service

Easter cannot be postponed since its sits in the middle of a wider religious period, a theologian said on Tuesday, arguing that the best solution would be for people to be able to enjoy the church services from home.

There was much speculation about the arrangements to be announced by cabinet on Wednesday over the possible postponement of the Easter celebrations to late May. Christian orthodox Easter falls on April 19 this year.

Concerns were voiced over whether this would mean shifting the whole Easter period more than a month later.

Many expect that the government will announce the main Easter service that takes place late on Holy Saturday and early Easter Sunday, on the announcement of the resurrection of Christ, will take place on May 27, which is the last day of the Easter period for this year.

“Easter cannot be moved since it is in the middle of a wider religious period,” Theologian Theodoros Kyriacou told the Cyprus Mail. If Easter is moved to another date, then the entire period would have to be moved too, he said.

Kyriacou believes that the church services should take place during the Holy Week as normal and people could stand on their balconies and listen to the liturgies from nearby churches or television.

He also said that that what could be done would be to follow Greece’s example that announced that the main service of April 18/19 will be repeated on May 27 to allow the faithful to attend, if the coronavirus situation allows gatherings by then.

Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushios said on Tuesday that the Holy Synod is the one to decide about any special arrangements and that President Nicos Anastasiades was to speak with the archbishop on the matter.

Bishop Isaias of Tamassos told Omega TV that Easter would be celebrated by the Church on April 19 without the attendance of believers at the services but suggested that the government could give May 27 as a holiday for people to be able to attend the service since it is the last day ‘Christos Anesti’ can be said.

Archbishop Chrysostomos also on Tuesday said that it was sad that church services are being carried out without attendance by the faithful, expressing hope that people would be able to go to the church if conditions allow. He called on the faithful, however, to realise the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic and work together to stop its spread, even if it meant not going to church during Easter.

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