Covid Scotland: Edinburgh clergyman held ‘superspreader’ religious gatherings during lockdown
The Reverend Daniel Karacsony breached Covid 19 restrictions by hosting the large-scale gathering for around 50 members of his congregation at a religious hall in Edinburgh last January.
Worried neighbors heard worshipers singing hymns from inside the building in the capital’s Leith district and called the police to investigate.
Officers arrived to find between 40 and 50 people inside the place of worship, most not wearing masks.
Karacsony, 49, told police he was the group’s pastor and after being arrested told officers “This is a house of God”.
The religious leader appeared alongside a Romanian interpreter at Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court where he pleaded guilty to culpably and recklessly holding the gathering and breaching Covid 19 restrictions.
Karacsony is the pastor of the Romanian Hosanna Church which is linked to the Church of God Scotland organization.
Prosecutor Emma Tod said residents near the hall contacted police around 6.15pm on January 10 last year.
The police arrived and heard chanting, and the fiscal added: “They came in and a church service was taking place.
“There were 40 to 50 people standing nearby singing. The majority were not wearing face masks.
“The officers asked for the music to be turned off and the accused said he was the leader of the congregation.
“He said he was the pastor and they were having a church service like they do every Sunday.”
Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss said: ‘I take this seriously because it has put a number of people at risk. Not just the people serving, but the people they then come into contact with.
“It could be described as a super spread event.”
Delivery driver Karacsony, from Fernieside, Edinburgh, has been released on bail and the sentence has been postponed until next month for the preparation of reports.
The Church of God of Scotland describes itself as a Christian, Protestant and Pentecostal denomination with churches in 184 countries and with over seven million members worldwide.