Disease Soaked: Communal virus communion

The Greek unorthodox cult have decided that they will continue having “communion”. But unlike the catholics and wafers placed into mouths by hand, the Greeks drink from the same spoon.  Only the first person drinks from a clean spoon – if it’s washed and not handled.

In era of coronavirus, Greek church says Holy Communion will carry on

Greece’s Orthodox Church said that Holy Communion, the partaking of wine soaked in bread from the same chalice for atonement from sins, would continue despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Debate has raged in deeply religious Greece on whether it would be prudent for the Church to continue the ritual, where worshippers sip from the same spoon.

The Greek Orthodox Church attempted to put a stop to the chatter on Monday: “This cannot be the cause of the spread of illness,” the Holy Synod, the ruling body of the Church, said in a statement.

In other COVID-19 news, Taiwan’s health ministry announced the total cases are now 59, the newest all traced back to Taiwanese people who returned from vacations.

One of them was in Greece.

Taiwan reports 6 new imported COVID-19 cases; total rises to 59

Six new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease have been confirmed in Taiwan, all of which are believed to have been imported, bringing the total number in the country to 59, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Sunday.


He said case 59 is a high school student who had been touring Greece with his family since January and returned to Taiwan on March 5. A week later, the student developed a sore throat, cough, runny nose and headache and was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, Chen said.


  1. blf says

    And teh Bulgarian Orthodox cult, Bulgarian Church Leader Insists Sacraments Cannot Transmit Coronavirus: “Church leader causes storm by claiming services need not stop, as it is impossible to catch virus from healing sacraments”.

    And in S.Korea, today, Coronavirus: salt water spray infects 46 church-goers in South Korea: “The church in Gyeonggi Province sprayed salt water into the mouths of its followers out of a belief it would kill the virus”.

    And — albeit I don’t have a reference, sorry — apparently some fundie cult somewhere in the States ordered its members who had symptoms to attend for a “faith healing” sessioninfection-spreading event.

  2. blf says

    (This is cross-posted from PZ’s current Political Madness All the Time thread here at FtB)

    From the Grauniad’s current live pandemic blog, Greek Orthodox Church suspends daily services (quoted in full, my added emboldening):

    Against a backdrop of incredulity and consternation, the Greek Orthodox church has, if reluctantly, decided to suspend daily services after a marathon session of its Holy Synod, citing the need to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

    Emerging from the five-hour meeting, the Church’s spokesman said while Sunday mass could continue, daily liturgies would be halted until the Holy week preceding Orthodox Easter on April 19.

    Following the decision, prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who had implored clergy to listen to scientific advice, overrode the ruling in a tweet that made clear services would have to end. Period. “A government decision suspends operations in all areas of religious worship of any religion or dogma,” he wrote. “Churches remain open only for individual prayer. Protection of public health requires clear decisions.”

    In a country of little separation between church and state, the tweet came as a surprise to many.

    Greek congregations, like most across Europe, are comprised of older people thought to be more susceptible to the disease. As the Church’s governing body, the Holy Synod had steadfastly rejected calls for practices such as Holy Communion to be stopped, saying it would continue to hold services and conduct the sacrament despite public health fears raised by the issue of shared chalices.

    To the alarm of scientists, high-ranking metropolitans had invoked religious belief as a bulwark again Covid-19.

    Today’s decision was taken only after the government’s chief medical advisor on infectious diseases, professor Sotiris Tsiodras, personally intervened, appearing before the church’s top tier to explain the gravity of the situation.

    That, say insiders, paved the way for Mitsotakis to be able to take matters into his own hands.

  3. blf says

    From today’s Grauniad live pandemic blog:

    Iranian police have dispersed crowds who forced their way into two popular shrines soon after they were closed because of the threat from the coronavirus outbreak.

    Shia Muslims entered the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad and the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Qom on Monday night, protesting at the closures announced earlier in the day on Iranian state television.

    The shrines are normally open for prayers around the clock. Health officials had told pilgrims that kissing and touching the shrines could spread the virus, and had urged clergy to close them for weeks.

    Worshippers who entered the shrines chanted objections to the closures. In a statement, religious leaders and a prominent Qom seminary urged pilgrims to rely on wisdom and patience during the crisis.


    The virus has erupted as the world’s most popular religions prepare for important festivals during which large numbers of people usually gather to pray and celebrate. Easter and Passover take place next month, and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan […] begins around 23 April.