Unnecessary religious lockout: Comprehensive statistical results of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Christian Orthodox countries in Easter 2020.

John D Pappas


A huge experiment, on a multinational and intercontinental level, was conducted in Eurasia in Holy Week 2020 as to what extent COVID-19 is transmitted among worshipers in Easter liturgies in Orthodox Christian countries. The experiment involved all Orthodox countries in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The set of Orthodox countries was in effect divided into two statistical subsets: on the one hand, countries where their citizens were allowed to attend Easter liturgies (like Georgia, Bulgaria etc.), and on the other, countries where a state ban was imposed on any presence of the faithful in Christian temples during Holy Week (like Greece, Russia etc.). In that dichotomic religious context, an unanticipated phenomenon was recorded statistically: More than a month after the Resurrection, the deaths from COVID-19 in the former countries were on average and proportionally less than such deaths in the latter countries. It is noteworthy that Georgia's performance in curbing the coronavirus pandemic in Spring 2020 has evolved to a paradigm in the Orthodox world: As of May 15, 2020, new coronavirus deaths in Georgia were zero (0) every day until Ascension Day, as result of Georgia's measured anti-pandemic policies that took into due consideration both medical suggestions and religious traditions in Holy Week. In this context, the statistical findings in this monograph might be useful for the effective and measured  management of the pandemic in Easter, according to the successfully applied model of Georgia: In sum, it has been statistically established that attendance in Orthodox liturgies of the Holy Passions does not contribute, in and by itself, to the spread of COVID-19, as long as basic safety precautions are taken by the church and duly observed by the faithful.


COVID-19 pandemic; lockdown; Orthodox liturgy; Holy Communion; World Health Organization; WHO; Central and Eastern Europe; Greece; Georgia.

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