Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: So far, 66 of Morphou bishop’s contacts all test negative

morphou bishop court 05
The Bishop of Morphou when he appeared in court on August 4 (Christos Theodorides)

None of the people who came into contact with Morphou Bishop Neophytos on Sunday have tested positive for the coronavirus so far after the cleric announced he had contracted the virus.

The head of the Tris Elies community, where Neophytos held a service on Sunday, said around 66 residents were tested on Thursday without any positives.

“We were informed that we must undergo testing again in a few days,” Christophoros Ioannides said.

Ioannides said more people came into contact with Neophytos but they did not live in the village. The community’s priest and his relatives also lived elsewhere.

“Our church was full that day and I estimate that up to 200 people received blessed bread from our bishop,” he said.

Receiving the bread usually entails kissing the priest’s hand.

The service was followed by lunch with the participation of around 30 people, mainly the bishop’s entourage and the community priest’s family.

Neophytos, a fierce opponent of Covid vaccines and government measures, including masks, announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was experiencing mild symptoms.

“His Holiness is receiving treatment from doctors he trusts and will remain in his cell until August 28, 2021,” a written statement said.

Neophytos has repeatedly expressed opposition to the vaccine, despite the Holy Synod encouraging the faithful to get it. He said he would not get the jab, because he did not want to become like a genetically modified product.

The bishop was also accused of breaking measures against the spread of coronavirus by encouraging his congregation to attend church services when they were banned and refused to pay a fine imposed on him for his actions.

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