Head of Greek church, Archbishop Ieronymos, tests positive for COVID

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis gestures next to Archbishop Ieronymos II on the Greek Island of Lesbos
FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis (L) gestures next to Archbishop Ieronymos II on the Greek Island of Lesbos during a visit aimed at supporting refugees and drawing attention to the front line of Europe's migration crisis in Lesbos, Greece, April 16, 2016. REUTERS/ Filippo Monteforte/pool/File Photo

November 19, 2020

ATHENS (Reuters) – The head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Ieronymos, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is being treated with mild symptoms in a central Athens hospital, Greek media reported on Thursday.

Ieronymos, 82, is the spiritual head of the Church in the deeply devout nation of more than 11 million which overwhelmingly identify themselves as Greek Orthodox Christians.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who met the prelate on Nov. 14, has twice in the past seven days tested negative for the novel coronavirus; once before his meeting with the cleric, and a second time before travelling to the United Arab Emirates, an official statement said.

“Taking that into account, experts recommend there is no reason for precautionary quarantine,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said, adding the government wished Ieronymos a speedy recovery.

(Reporting By Michele Kambas, Editing by Timothy Heritage)