2020-03-26 15:08:00

Russian Orthodox Church shows understanding of Sobyanin's advice not to attend service but says churches will stay open

Moscow, March 26, Interfax - The working group of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia that is coordinating the activity of churches amid the coronavirus outbreak held a meeting on Thursday and responded to the advice of the authorities of Moscow and the Moscow Region that churchgoers should not attend service for a while.

"We understand the advice of the secular authorities of Moscow and the Moscow Region 'not to visit religious sites' and the reason why the recommendation has been given. However, clerics will be fully executing their pastoral duty to all believers who deem it necessary to visit the church at this time of ordeal and to pray for their kin and for our people," the working group said in its commentary published by the Russian Orthodox Church's press service.

Regular broadcast of church services will be arranged for people who follow the recommendations of the authorities of Moscow and the Moscow Region and decide to stay at home in order to "console these people under the current exceptional circumstances," the commentary said. For instance, church services will be broadcast by the television channels Spas and Soyuz and on the social media. Certain parishes in Moscow are already arranging audio and video broadcast of services.

The Patriarchate's working group noted that priests of Moscow churches would be on duty to grant urgent communion requests of churchgoers older than 65 and persons with chronic diseases, who are instructed to stay at home.