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Coronavirus: Police investigating defiant Morphou bishop for holding mass (Updated)

Bishop Neophytos of Morphou

Police were investigating whether Morphou Bishop Neophytos had violated the quarantine law after he held mass in a church in Peristerona on Sunday with the participation of members of the public.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said officers booked three people, one being the church’s priest.

Reports said seven others left the church after the officers showed up.

The service was held to mark Palm Sunday, which commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

Andreou said the chief of police gave instructions on Monday for the case to be investigated in a bid to determine whether the quarantine law had been violated.

“Everyone is equal before the law and any violations will be reported without exception,” Andreou said. “Once more, we urge everyone, faithful and priests, to fully comply with the decrees. We repeat that according to the decree, civilians are prohibited from entering places of religious worship.”

After the service, the bishop accused the officers of being disrespectful even though they were legitimised “by the laws of the presidential and ministerial decree”.

“What are the faithful in danger from?” Neophytos asked.

“Maybe we’ll depart this transient life because of a disease; and if we don’t depart due to this disease, another is awaiting us at the corner. Some accident perhaps, old age, those of us who will age, and will be allowed by Bill Gates’ vaccines to grow old.

“We will still depart this transient life. True life, immortal life, the beautiful life is elsewhere, that is why we celebrate, Mr President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Prime Minister of the Republic of Greece, that is why we celebrate Easter.”

While most clerics have accepted the decrees, which were supported by the archbishop, Bishop Neophytos and Limassol Bishop Athanasios have engaged in actions that could put people at risk.

Authorities fear a rise in such cases as Cyprus entered the Holy Week.

Andreou said the force has information that members of the public could attempt to visit a church to receive the Holy Light or priests could carry it to homes. The Holy Light is traditionally passed on to the faithful at around midnight on Saturday.

The authorities have banned unnecessary movement after 9pm as part of the measures on movement.



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