Furious believers wearing no face masks protest in Iasi over cancellation of St. Parascheva pilgrimage. Restrictions lifted

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Some people who came last night and today at the relics of St. Parascheva at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Iasi have clashed with the gendarmes for not allowing them to enter the church and pray.

Pilgrims complained they had come for nothing from hundreds of kilometers away. However, the law is clear and has been announced several days ago: due to the pandemic, the pilgrimage at St. Parascheva’s relics has been banned for people outside Iasi, being available only for locals.

The protest started last night and continued on Wednesday, with people wearing no face masks booing and arguing with the riot policemen, accusing gendarmes of not allowing them to enter the church.

After the Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina, Teofan had announced this morning that people attending the religious service will not receive the communion, many people started to heckle.

Although the authorities had announced several days ago that only the locals residing in Iasi will have access into the cathedral till October 15, believers came from all around the country and tried to force their entry.

On top of all, Moldavia Metropolitan Teofan has claimed that a true Christian believer attending an act of faith becomes more resilient before the disease.

“Before the existing pandemic, medicines, the hospitalization and various types of protection are essential. But, as the US President said several days ago, worship places are also essential for providing essential services…A person at peace with his soul, with the internal gratification provided by the attendance of an act of faith, becomes more resilient in front of the disease or, once sick, has more strength to fight against the disease. A real Christian believer knows that entrusting his life to a loving God, who defended pain and disease for him, represents a precious source of strength against life’s challenges,” Teofan said.

Restrictions lifted in the end

The restrictions imposed by the central authorities for the St. Parascheva pilgrimage for citizens who did not reside in Iasi have been lifted at some point, so all pilgrims were allowed to the relics, without having to present their ID card to certify they live in Iasi.

Around 50 people among those who were protesting claiming conspiracy theories have been eventually evacuated from the Cathedral’s courtyard by a gendarme squad and by priests, according to Ziarul de Iași.

The protesters argued with the gendarmes till they had been allowed to stand in line to enter the cathedral. Most of them are not from Iasi, almost none of them was wearing face masks, waved flags and had icons. Some of them were wearing priest clothes. The group did not respect any social distancing rule nor any sanitary protection norm.

According to the local media, thousands of people were waiting in line to worship the relics of St. Parascheva.

It is not clear who took the decision of lifting restrictions.

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