Easter liturgy in Georgia to go ahead despite coronavirus crisis
The Georgian Patriarchate says it will hold the Easter liturgy despite the coronavirus crisis in the country and the quarantine regulations announced by the authorities.
The Patriarchate also once again stated that it was not going to change the rite of communion and would not, in particular, administer it with disposable cutlery.
As of April 4, at 10 a.m., 148 cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in Georgia. There are 5,550 quarantined people and 281 in hospitals. 27 patients have recovered.
“Not a single church has refused [the using of a] single cup for communion. The synod made such a decision, the disputes are over,” said the head of the press service of the patriarchate Andria Jagmaidze.
He emphasized that the Easter liturgy will be held without fail, and the patriarchate will take into account the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.
The representative of the patriarchate did not explain how the liturgy will be served so that neither parishioners nor the church will violate the state of emergency. Andria Jagmaidze also stated that the statement of one of the priests that the parish would spend Easter night in the church was not agreed with the patriarchate.
One of the priests is Shalva Kekelia, who told Formula TV that parishioners will not break the curfew if they gather in churches before it begins, i.e. until 21.00, and if they keep a social distance of one and a half meters and leave the church after the end of the curfew, i.e. after 6.00.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Maya Tskitishvili said that citizens who go to church on Easter night will violate the curfew on two points at once. There is a ban on meetings for more than three people and being out after 21.00. At the same time, Tskitishvili made it clear that the restrictions introduced due to the pandemic apply to all Georgian citizens, including clergy.
Today, Maya Tskitishvili, Minister of Nature Protection and Agriculture Levan Davitashvili, and Minister of Economy Natia Turnava announced that they were not going to attend the Easter liturgy.
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The government introduced a state of emergency on March 31 until April 21 to counter the pandemic in Georgia. From March 31, it has been forbidden to gather in groups of three or more, except for in shops and pharmacies. Social distancing measures are still in effect. All types of public transport, including the metro, have been suspended.
Online commerce, except grocery and delivery services, have been suspended as well. There is a curfew from 21.00 to 6.00. At the same time, the synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church at a meeting on March 20 decided not to change the communion rite, which entails, inter alia, the use of one cup for all parishioners.