Bulgarian Orthodox Churches to remain open on Palm Sunday and Easter


Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Thursday that Bulgaria’s Orthodox churches and temples will be open for traditional Palm Sunday and Easter services despite the coronavirus outbreak, saying many people were desperate and in low spirits.

However, Borissov also urged Bulgarians to stay and pray in their homes. Services at major churches would be broadcast live on state television.

“A difficult decision but I am ready to bear the reproaches,” Borisov told a news conference. “The bishops told me that there are many people who are in low spirits, desperate. So I just cannot issue such an order (to close churches).”

Services on Palm Sunday and especially Easter normally draw thousands to churches all around the Balkan country.

Read More: Greek President expresses support for Greek diaspora and American Archbishop Elpidophoros

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said police will maintain a heavy presence around churches to keep order and ensure social distancing.

Bulgaria has declared a state of emergency until May 13 and imposed a ban on groups of more than two adults congregating together. As of Thursday, it had 611 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 24 deaths.

The Orthodox Church will not distribute willow branches, as it customarily does, on Palm Sunday, Lovech Metropolitan (Bishop) Gavriil said, describing the move as “no small compromise”.

Orthodox Christians carry an icon of the Virgin Mary during a parade marking Easter near Bachkovo monastery

Gavriil said Easter services will start outside churches and the Holy Synod, the church’s top executive body, recommended that worshippers wear protective masks.

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has been criticised on social media for keeping its houses of worship open in spite of the coronavirus crisis.

Many Bulgarians also pointed fingers at the church for keeping the practices of people kissing icons in churches, and using shared spoons during communion services.

Read More: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia launches ‘COVID-19 Community Relief’ program

Valeri Simeonov, the head of a nationalist party which is part of the ruling coalition, said the church should stop communion services.

“Let’s not pretend that it (the church) is holy. We are at war with with an invisible enemy,” he said.

But many politicians have taken part in the Holy Communion, saying they are not afraid.

“Do not fear!” said Gavriil. “Where God’s grace is, all microbes burn. There is no case of contagion being transmitted through Holy Communion.”

Sourced by: Reuters




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

Summer wildfires plague Greece as firefighters battle high winds

Summer wildfires have plagued Greece this week with numerous new fires breaking out across the country in the last few hours.

Hezbollah leader threatens Cyprus in case of war with Israel

The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah threatened Cyprus for the first time on Wednesday.

Nostalgic taverna night hosted by the Athenian Association of NSW

The Athenian Association of NSW hosted a nostalgic taverna night at the Greek Orthodox Community hall in Lakemba on Saturday, June 15.

Expression of Interest proposals for the Cyprus Club to be reviewed by members

The Cyprus Community of NSW have completed the first round in the Expressions of Interest process for the Cyprus Club at Stanmore.

Emanuel J. Comino captivates audience with compelling case for Parthenon Marbles’ return

There was a full house in Sydney on Monday, June 17, as Emanuel J. Comino gave a stirring lecture on the latest developments on the issue.

You May Also Like

Irene Tahliambouris mugged by 16-year-old teen outside Greek Orthodox church in New York

On Thursday, April 11, a teenager was arrested after pushing a 68-year-old Greek woman down the steps of her local church in Queens, New York.

Man found guilty of fatally bashing Ross Houllis in Sydney

Abdul Karaali has been found guilty of the murder of 28-year-old Ross Houllis in Sydney over a pair of fake AirPods.

South Melbourne Hellas and Mill Park to face off in Greek Community Cup final

South Melbourne Hellas and Mill Park will face off on February 11 to decide who will be crowned champions of the Greek Community Cup.