The decision comes in the wake of the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the archdiocese limit, says a circular issued by Archbishop Antony Kariyil.

Keralas Syro Malabar Catholic Churches not to open till June 30St. George Forane Church, Edappally, FB Page
Coronavirus Faith Sunday, June 07, 2020 - 15:25

Churches under the Ernakaulam-Angamaly archdiocese of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Kerala will not open for mass prayers till June 30.

A decision in this regard was taken in a meeting held by Archbishop of the diocese, Antony Kariyil, on Sunday. The decision comes in the wake of the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the archdiocese limit, says a circular issued by the bishop.

However, churches can be kept open for individual prayers. In accordance with government regulations, the circular says that a maximum of 50 people will be allowed to attend a wedding while functions like engagements, baptisms and funerals can have 20 attendees.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that places of worship can open from June 9 onwards.

Meanwhile, the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency (AMT) in a letter to Archbishop Antony Kariyil urged the church to disallow priests and devotees above 65 from visiting centres of worship as well as attending public functions indefinitely.

AMT is a forum of the faithful as well as of priests that stands for corrective practices within the church.

“India stands fifth in the number of COVID-19 cases across the world. More than 100 cases are being reported per day in Kerala. Against this backdrop, ATM has written to the Archbishop asking not to open churches,” says a statement from AMT.

The Kerala Chapter of the Indian Medical Association had urged the government not to open malls, centres of worship or public places where people would flock, fearing that the situation would go beyond control.

“AMT’s demand is not to open churches for two more weeks considering that community transmission in various countries began through centres of worship. After that, a decision should be taken assessing the situation. IMA’s warning in this regard should be taken into account. Most of the bishops in the Kerala Catholic church are above 65. They will not be allowed to enter churches or perform mass as per the directions of the government. Priests and devotees above 65 should be disallowed from visiting churches and also attending public functions indefinitely,” the statement from AMT further says.

Two mosques – the Palayam Juma Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram and the Palayam Muhiyudheen Palli in Kozhikode – on Saturday had announced that they would wait for some more time before opening for devotees.

On March 16, the Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church Cardinal Mar George Alencherry had written to the CM requesting opening places of worship, subject to physical distancing and adhering to the conditions laid down by the government.

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