The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office has warned the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston to stop forcing Churches in the state under its jurisdiction to use a common chalice and spoon during religious services.
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.
She also warned church leaders in her letter of “further legal enforcement actions to achieve compliance.”
The three-page letter listed numerous guidelines mandated by state officials, including “shared cups, serving utensils, books of worship, or the passing of plates must be avoided.”
State health officials said they learned about three cases from the parish in mid-September, as well as an additional three that were isolated through contact tracing that came from the community.
Back in June, Metropolitan Methodios, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in New England whose jurisdiction includes the New Hampshire where the outbreak took place, refused to change the way communion was offered to faithful, despite such a suggestion from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
“As to the side of distributing the ineffable Mysteries to the faithful, the Church finds no need for a change of this mode, especially under pressure from external factors,” Methodios wrote.
Methodios continued and said that “The use of more than one communion spoon is prohibited.”
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s letter to the Greek Orthodox Church is here.
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