Archbishop Chrysostomos on Tuesday told health professionals who advocated opening churches to mind their own business and stay out of Church matters.
Weighing into the debate that started with a group of health professional signing a petition to open churches for worship and arguing that the coronavirus cannot be transmitted through Holy Communion later opposed by the Cyprus Medical Association, Chrysostomos said the Church was guided by the best interest of its flock and the people.
“They should mind their own business; there is no need to meddle in the matters of the Church,” he told the Cyprus News Agency.
The archbishop stressed that the Church would not do anything to prompt the resurgence of the virus and stand accused that it expedited the operation of churches and cause an outbreak.
“And we’ll be holding funerals instead of our people returning to work and to normalcy,” he said, adding that that was something the Church did not wish for.
Of health professionals who advocated opening churches, Chrysostomos said they should have first approached the Church leadership and listened to his intentions.
“And they could rise up afterwards if they did not like what he told them.”
The archbishop said he did not expect the president to be influenced by the emotional outbursts displayed by some people.
“The government has its advisors and it will decide. The Church of Cyprus in turn will approach the president and express its views,” Chrysostomos said.
He added that the Church will not be influenced by “do-gooders” who want self-promotion.
Coronavirus: Archbishop to argue for conditional opening of churches
Earlier in the day local media had reported that the Archbishop was expected to suggest to the president that alternate church services be held on weekdays as a way of preventing overcrowding on Sundays.
He was believed to be likely to suggest that churches to be subjected to the same criteria of social distancing as businesses. This would mean, on average, one person per eight square metres.
It is also understood that he will request church visits be permissible via the SMS system for half an hour.
Experts have previously said that businesses or events that include crowds of people will be amongst the final places to see restrictions lifted.