In a rebuke to a threatening letter from the New Hampshire Attorney General, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston responded with a strong rebuke, stating that the Church has been taking all necessary precautions and that none of the infected parishioners from the Church in reference in the letter had taken communion.
The New Hampshire Attorney General had sent a stern warning to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston, threatening possible legal action if practices of taking communion weren’t changed.
The letter, sent to Metropolitan Methodios and a local parish priest, follows what state officials said was an outbreak of COVID-19 in early September at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Portsmouth.
“The Greek Orthodox practice of using a single, shared chalice and spoon appears to be a possible source of the COVID-19 outbreak at St. Nicholas,” Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards wrote in a letter dated September 25.
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston responded, stating that Communion wasn’t the cause of the outbreak at the said parish.
“According to information from the St. Nicholas Parish Safety Team and Parish Council, none of the parishioners who contracted Covid-19 had actually received communion,” according to the statement from Fr. Theodore Barbas, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston.
“To date, the Metropolis has not received information of the virus associated with the voluntary practice of taking communion,” the statement continued.
Furthermore, the statement reiterated to the Attorney General that the Metropolis closed the parish immediately upon learning that some parishioners had been diagnosed with the virus and kept the church closed for three weeks.
In a veiled warning to the Attorney General, the Metropolis statement goes on to say that “the Attorney General’s letter raises important issues of Church-State relations” and that the Church is, on the one hand “recognizing the public health threat” but is also “mindful of historical Church practices” that are protected by the Federal and State Constitutions.
Metropolitan Methodios, the statement concluded, has been in contact with the Attorney Genera;’s office and has referred this issue to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for decision.”
Read the Metropolis of Boston’s full statement here.
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