2020-03-11 17:55:00

Russian Orthodox Church official believes ban on Communion more terrifying than coronavirus

Moscow, March 11, Interfax - Threat of being deprived of Liturgy and Communion is more dangerous than coronavirus, Archimandrite Philipp (Ryabykh), representative of the Moscow Patriarchate to the European International institutions, believes.

"On the one hand, it is frightening to be infected with the dreadful virus that may be lethal, this fear is great and it makes many people think about their life and health. However, on the other hand, under these circumstances it is even more frightening to be deprived of the Holy Communion and the Holy Eucharist, which is the great gift of the Lord. We also have to think it over," he said after the service in All Saints Church in Strasbourg.

He reminded that church services had already been banned in some parts of Europe.

"We are on the edge of being deprived of the Eucharist and Communion of the Holy Blood and Body of Christ," the archimandrite regretted.

He also quoted holy fathers who said that the world was based on celebrating Liturgy and Eucharist. "If the Liturgy ceases, if it is prohibited to celebrate the Liturgy, what will make the world go on, what will make the core of our lives?" he wonders.

The archimandrite compared the current situation to closure of churches in the Soviet times: then it was directive of the atheist authorities, and today churches are closed because of health care fears.

"However, the fear of giving out God's mercy, Communion of His Holy Sacraments is greater nevertheless," the priest said and urged parishioners to kiss the cross and the festival icon which were rubbed with disinfected wipes after each believer.