This brief report appeared earlier today at Orthodox Times with an expanded title. The irony can be lost on no one that far-right Covid deniers who convert to Orthodoxy in the US and make up a portion of our American clergy look to the Russian Church as the pinnacle of “muscular Orthodoxy.” One wonders how they square this news with their extremist positions on Covid-19.
While Orthodoxy in Dialogue has frequently taken issue—and will continue to do so—with the institutional Russian Church’s full complicity in Kremlin geopolitics, and especially in the Kremlin’s violence against Ukrainian statehood and autocephaly, we are happy to share the news when the Moscow Patriarchate does something right.
We recommend Orthodox Times to our readers as an impartial source of Orthodox news from around the world.
Despite the fall in COVID-19 patients numbers, the Russian Orthodox Church intends to maintain measures against the spread of the virus in churches, which were imposed last spring, as stated by the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations (DECR), Metropolitan Hilarion.
“I do not think we should rush to reduce the measures taken at the beginning of the pandemic because the pandemic will last, as it seems, a long time, and the probability of infection is still high for many. Many have not yet been vaccinated, they have not become ill and they do not have antibodies in their blood,” he told the Russian channel Россия 24.
The measures in force in Russian churches include the obligatory use of face mask, the social distancing between the faithful, the disinfection of the surfaces. In addition, during the Christmas period, the elderly were advised to avoid going to the church while a priest could visit the faithful at home.
See the Coronavirus / Faith in a Time of Pandemic section in our Archives 2020-21.
Kostas Onisenko is a reporter at InsideStory, media coordinator for the Federation of Greek Communities of Ukraine (a member organization of the Federal Union of European Nationalities [FUEN]), and special correspondent for TA NEA (New Things). He resides in Athens, Greece. Follow him on Twitter.