A Romanian Orthodox archbishop will offer believers an opportunity to celebrate Easter more than a month late.
The Archdiocese of Tomis, which is in Romania’s eastern Black Sea region, said it would reschedule Easter vigil on the night of May 26-27 after Orthodox worshipers were unable to attend outdoor services at the proper time due to a national lockdown caused by the coronavirus crisis.
In a post on Facebook, the archdiocese said it was taking action to compensate for canceled services on April 19.
“To correct this shortcoming…. on the night of May 26 to May 27 (Tuesday to Wednesday), at midnight, the churches and monasteries of the Archdiocese of Tomis will hold the Holy Liturgy and call on believers to receive the Holy Light,” the message said.
Romanian Orthodox Christians believers celebrate Ascension Day on May 28 and it was unclear how the church would reconcile celebrating Easter, immediately followed by Ascension which comes 39 days after Easter,
Romania lifted a state of emergency on May 15 and has since lifted some restrictions.
Churches are allowed to hold open-air services as long as congregants wear face masks and keep a two-meter distance from others.
It is the first time in recent history, when the Romanian Orthodox Church has rescheduled Easter.
The controversial decision was taken by Archbishop Teodosie, who last week created an uproar by offering the Eucharist using ta single spoon for all communicants.
The Romanian Orthodox Church said the decision was an unilateral one, based on the autonomy that the archdiocese enjoys.
It added that churches had already celebrated Easter on April 19, on the proper date when worshipers had received the Holy Light. It said it hoped the archdiocese would follow all current regulations.