Georgian churches full despite state of emergency
Annunciation services were held today in Georgia by a locum tenens of the patriarch, Bishop Shio Mujiri, earlier today despite the state of emergency. The head priests of various Georgian churches and numerous parishioners attended the service. The floor of the cathedral was specially set up to enforce safe distancing.
Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, who has not conducted services in several weeks, was not present at the liturgy.
“His blood pressure is a little high, and there are several important holidays coming up, so we asked him to relax,” explains Ilia II’s personal physician Tsisana Shartava. She says that while the liturgy was being held, the patriarch was in a church on the grounds of the patriarchate.
Meanwhile, one of the clergy members at St. Nicholas Church has been diagnosed with coronavirus. His mother and grandfather also tested positive. All three have been hospitalized.
His is the first reported case of a church clergyman with coronavirus in Georgia. Prior to this, a priest in the American diocese of the Georgian Orthodox Church also tested positive for the virus.
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In order to counter the coronavirus pandemic, Georgia declared a state of emergency on March 21. On March 23, in response to an outbreak in the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia, the cities of Marneuli and Bolnisi were put on lockdown. Starting March 31, a curfew is in effect from 9pm to 6am.