Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Russian Church and the coronavirus

Moscow, March 17 (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill issues an instruction for Moscow clerics with unprecedented in the newest history of the Russian Orthodox Church preventive measures.

From now on, a spoon will be wiped off with "a cloth soaked in ethanol (with regular renewal of the soaking)" after each communicant and then it will be immersed into water with further utilization of the water," the document posted at the Russian Orthodox Church website reads.

The church's spokesman Vladimir Legoyda explained to Interfax that such a procedure was practiced in pre-revolutionary Russia in period of epidemics.

Then the communicants will receive the drinking mixture only in plastic dispensable cups.

After the Communion dispensable napkins will be used for sponging the mouth, not a piece of cloth as before. These napkins will be further burnt.

Communicants are also urged not to kiss the chalice.

Dispensable gloves will be used for giving antidoron (pieces of blessed bread prosphora given to believers after the Liturgy).

Cotton buds instead of special brushes and paper napkins instead of sponges will be used for anointing, they will also be burnt afterwards.

Besides, the patriarch's instruction recommends not to kiss the cross after the service, but to bless parishioners laying the cross on their heads. Priests are also advised "not to give their hands for kissing."

The document urges to pay increased attention to the cleanness of church vessels and wipe them after each usage at the service, carefully scrubbing them with boiling water.


  1. Assuming this is true, it appears the "plastic dispensable cups" part is a reference to "zapivka" only - the blessed wine consumed in Slavic tradition parishes after communion. (Interfax often has clunky and strange translations to the English)
    This fairly reputable Russia news site claims directives only apply to Moscow diocese:

    This purports to be the full original text:

  2. "...claims directives only apply to Moscow diocese"

    I sense some want to contain this contagion of, I don't know, "liberal" lack of faith in a Trice Holy Transubstasiated Heavenly Disinfectant ;) :_)

    1. uummm no. Meduza is a well-known (in journalistic & Russia analysis circles) independent and secular independent news site based in Riga, Latvia. Basically it doesn't have a dog in this fight.

      As for me (who wrote the initial comment), I'm a journalist myself (who yes is Orthodox) which is why i used words like "claims" and "purported".

      Don't assign motives esp if you don't know what your talking about (clearly you've never heard of Meduza - again, very well-known in E. Europe and Russian observer circles).

      In short, get lost troll.

    2. Hey, I'm a journalist too!! (or is it to...I'm not an editor) I run www.trollorthodoxy.org. What the skinny on how the EP and his minions in the U.S. State Dept. got to Kirill? Don't worry, I will attribute you first!

  3. The Moscow Times has a better English explanation of the new measures.


    Brother Jake, I understand your feelings but I think sarcasm isn't what we are needing here.

    I think the fireeaters who were so quick to condemn the EP, Greece and the OCA are now having to eat their words as Antioch and other Churches are implementing similar measures across the world. That is where the shot was directed, I believe.

    I think it's great the MP is taking these measures. It isn't a lack of faith to try and protect people, and NOBODY is saying that the Holy Chalice is the source of disease.

  4. Oooh! Now it's fireeaters! Insults against Orthodox Christians who desire to see Churches remain open during a crisis are not helping your argument.

    1. What insult is there? Exhibiting disdain towards bishops who don't fit into a very narrow view of piety is certainly ugly. There are other words I could have used that are quite belligerent and hostile. My words were chosen very carefully.

    2. Mikhail, a "novel" shall we say, way to receive holy communion was introduced and instead of addressing it, you defensively imposed yourself into a discussion where you were not even mentioned. Is this the concern for the Church that you claim to have?

      ~(Not the "Unknown" above)

  5. David,

    Your no doubt right. I was having a bit of fun with Unknown as we were talking past each other... ;)

  6. David,

    Bishops are shutting down Churches. They will answer to God for that. There should be more services during a crisis. And what do you do when people yearn for the holy Liturgy. You call them stone throwers and fire eaters. Pathetic little insults.

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  9. Mikail, NOTE---I really wish there was an edit feature on this blog

    My whole point is that those who are condemning our bishops ("spitting fire" or "casting stones") for lack of faith would do well to reflect on HOW they are speaking and acting.

    No offense was intended, and truth be told, I had you in mind when I posted that way, because your posts on this crisis have been snide and contemptuous. It was intended as some "fraternal correction" because we are supposed to be in this together, and in a horrible situation, such sniping does no good. Perhaps I didn't go about it the right way, and I am sorry for that.

    I've tried to interact with you as a person, but that has failed. You can have the last word in our interaction here. Emphasis on the word last.

    May Our Lord bless you, and hopefully softer hearts all around and love can prevail.

    1. David,

      These are tough times. Sometimes it is the responsibility of the people to admonished their Bishops when they fall into apostasy. Have you ever heard of St. Mark of Ephesus?