Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Epidemiology Professor: No Scientific Study That Proves COVID-19 is Transmitted Through Holy Communion

Speaking on ERT TV last week, Athena Linou, Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and President of the Institute of Prevention, was asked whether it was possible that COVID-19 was transmitted through Holy Communion.

The professor stressed that there was no epidemiological study that proves such a thing.

Specifically referring to the issue of Holy Communion in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Athena Linou noted: “I have to admit that there is no epidemiological study that proves that the disease is transmitted through ingestion of saliva, including the virus itself. There is no study.”

Athena Linou responded also to the use of the same spoon to receive Holy Communion: “I am a faithful Orthodox Christian, and I know that there are also Divine Liturgies such as that of Saint James in which it is not required to distribute Holy Communion with the same spoon.”

At the same time she stressed that, since it is a new virus, COVID-19 has not been scientifically proven to be transmitted through ingestion by using a common spoon.

“I do not think we can deal with spiritual and Orthodox issues with logic. The metaphysical is not proven. But I insist that there is no world study that demonstrates that the virus is transmitted through ingestion,” the epidemiologist concluded.

Asked by the journalist if she would receive Holy Communion at this time, she replied: “I would, of course.”

Athena Linou, was invited yesterday to comment on the statements she had made about Holy Communion last week.

She has not hidden that she is faithful, saying that the coronaviruses is generally transmitted through the air.

Speaking on Topic 104.6, Linou, when asked about her earlier statements about Holy Communion, said: "We must remember that the coronavirus is a virus that is primarily transmitted through the air. It is an airborne infection. Regarding this fact, I have sent to the Holy Synod, which I respect and honor as an Orthodox Christian, since March, twelve steps that all churches must take for protection from the coronavirus, including ventilation, distances, free masks, multiple liturgies, liturgies outdoors etc.

As for Holy Communion apart from being a sacrament and a mystery we cannot understand, what I said is that if we look, the WHO has said that the virus is not transmitted through food and through ingestion. There has been no indication so far, this is what the WHO says, and there is no study to the contrary. Especially for the coronavirus there is no such indication."

Expanding her thoughts on the use of the common spoon, she said: "Regarding separating the mystery from the way the mystery is transmitted.  The body and blood is one thing and the spoon is another thing, and there is a lot of discussion on this; it is a matter of tradition and from what I understand it is not a dogmatic issue. It is a matter for the patriarchate to make such a decision."

Commenting on the proposal of Alexis Tsipras, to take over the Ministry of Health as a person of common acceptance by all parties, she said that it is an honorary proposal, it has passed from political positions during its long course, only during the SYRIZA government. She noted, however, that at the moment she has clarified that what is a key priority at the moment is to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and special measures to feed children in need.