Conservative authorities officers have mainly blamed overcrowding in bars and eating places and appear loath to level the finger on the church, although the illness has clearly unfold by way of the ranks of the clergy in latest weeks — notably afflicting older members who’re most weak to the virus.

At the least six of the church’s 80 bishops in Greece have caught the virus, together with 62-year-old Bishop Ioannis of Lagadas in northern Greece, who died from it on Nov. 15. However the precise variety of contaminated clerics isn’t recognized, as some haven’t made their diseases public, calling it “a private difficulty,” church officers stated.

“Some clergy, hierarchs included, appear to behave as if they imagine themselves to be resistant to the illness,” stated George Demacopoulos, a co-director of the Orthodox Christian Research Middle at Fordham College. “We’re seeing the tragic outcomes of this type of considering.”

Though Greece initially fared comparatively effectively in dealing with the pandemic, the second wave has proved harder to curb. As of Friday, the nation had 113,185 confirmed circumstances and a couple of,804 deaths, with many of the deaths recorded over the previous month.

Archbishop Ieronymos examined constructive for Covid-19 on Nov. 16, two days after assembly Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis amid the nation’s newest lockdown to debate the opening of church buildings for Christmas. (Mr. Mitsotakis subsequently examined detrimental).

Different Orthodox church buildings in Europe have additionally been struck by the virus.

The Orthodox patriarch of Serbia, Irinej, 90, and the patriarch of Montenegro, Amfilohije, 82, both died from it in latest weeks. The Archbishop of Albania, Anastasios, a 91-year-old ethnic Greek, was flown in for remedy on the similar Athens hospital that handled Archbishop Ieronymos final month.