Greek church stirs controversy over stance that Communion can’t spread coronavirus

By: Inquirer.net March 14,2020 - 05:29 PM

The Greek Orthodox Church has stirred up controversy after claiming that the Holy Communion cannot spread the novel coronavirus despite the advice of medical professionals.

According to Australia’s Greek Orthodox Archdiocese spokesperson, Reverend Steven Scoutas, the Church will continue sharing the same spoon to drink wine as part of the Holy Communion, ABC News reported earlier today, March 14.

The Church, however, encourages people with symptoms of the disease to temporarily refrain from visiting churches and joining in their gatherings.

If people do decide to go to church, however, Scoutas claimed that “there is absolutely no possibility of contracting the disease from the holy cup.”

“We believe that no disease or illness can exist in Holy Communion, which we believe is the Body and Blood of Christ,” he was quoted as saying.

The virus spreads by inhaling small droplets of saliva when an infected person coughs or sneezes, according to the World Health Organization. A person can also be infected by touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes after touching an object where small droplets from an infected person landed.

WHO studies found out that the novel coronavirus spreads mainly through droplets, stating that the “virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.”

As parishioners will be sharing saliva by using one spoon, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has condemned the position of the church.

“I would doubt very much their faith would provide the protection they believe,” AMA associate professor Julian Rait was quoted as saying. “It’s an ill-considered and unscientific position to hold, and it’s putting people at risk.”

The Greek Orthodox Church in Athens, Greece, meanwhile, holds the same position with its Australian counterpart regarding the spread of the disease and the Holy Communion.

“For the members of the Church, attending the Holy Eucharist… certainly cannot be a cause of disease transmission,” the Holy Synod, the ruling body of the Church, said in a statement dated March 9 as per Greek newspaper I Kathimerini on the same day. Ian Biong /ra

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TAGS: controversy, COVID-19, Greek Orthodox Church, Holy Communion, medical professionals

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