Covid Scotland: Edinburgh pastor held 'super-spreader' religious gatherings during lockdown

A pastor has admitted putting public health at risk by holding an illicit “super-spreader” religious gathering during last year’s Covid lockdown.

By Alexander Lawrie
Thursday, 13th January 2022, 2:27 pm

Reverend Daniel Karacsony breached Covid 19 restrictions by organising the large scale meeting for around 50 of his congregation in a religious hall in Edinburgh last January.

Concerned neighbours overheard the worshippers singing hymns from within the building in the Leith area of the capital and called in the police to investigate.

Officers arrived to find between 40 and 50 people inside the place of worship with most said to be not wearing masks.

Daniel Karacsony held 'super-spreader' meetings in Edinburgh.

Karacsony, 49, told police he was the pastor of the group and after being arrested he told officers “This is a house of God”.

The religious leader appeared alongside a Romanian interpreter at Edinburgh Sheriff Court where he pleaded guilty to culpably and recklessly holding the gathering and breaching Covid 19 restrictions.

Karacsony is the pastor of the Hosanna Romanian Church which is connected to the Church of God Scotland organisation.

Prosecutor Emma Tod said residents near to the hall contacted police at around 6.15pm on January 10 last year.

Police arrived and heard singing, and the fiscal added: “They entered and a religious service was taking place.

“There were 40 to 50 people standing in close proximity singing along. The majority were not wearing face masks.

“The officers requested the music to be turned off and the accused said he was the leader of the congregation.

“He stated he was the pastor and they were holding a church service as they do every Sunday.”

Sheriff Matthew Auchincloss said: “I take a serious view of this as he has put a number of people at risk. Not just the people at the service but people they then come in contact with.

“This could be described as a super-spreader event.”

Delivery driver Karacsony, of Fernieside, Edinburgh, was granted bail and sentence was deferred to next month for the preparation of reports.

The Church of God Scotland describes itself as a Christian, Protestant and Pentecostal denomination with churches in 184 countries and with a worldwide of membership of over seven million.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.