On Palm Sunday, parishioners massively flocked to the temples of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which created another serious threat of coronavirus infection amid the epidemic.
Recently, ROC officials have repeatedly called on their parishioners to ignore quarantine, attend worship, and receive communion. As a result of such actions, some 90 people have contracted the novel virus and two have already died in the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra alone, making it a hotbed of the disease in Kyiv, duhovnyfront.com.ua reported.
At the same time, according to sources among ROC clergy living in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region, the Danilov Monastery, which is the residence of Russia’s Patriarch Kirill, on April 8 had sent across Russian metropolises and dioceses an instruction to refrain from organizing religious festivities, including Easter.
It is only possible to hold worship with the participation of the clergy and parish officials, with a mandatory explanation to parishioners of Kirill’s statement about the need for voluntary isolation (adhering to the rules of self-isolation and quarantine).
At the same time, the recommendations to this letter read: “Following the blessing of the Holy Patriarch, the clergy shall call upon parishioners to pursue with prayers from home pending the restrictions imposed by authorities. This includes the days of Holy Week and the feast of Holy Easter.”
According to the ROC head, parishioners are urged to endure these “temporary difficulties for the sake of preserving the lives and health of our fellow people.”
This was confirmed by clerics from the temporarily occupied territories who provided the copy of Kirill’s letter, which arrived at the ROC’s Shakhty Diocese late last week. At the same time, they noted that this instruction was never delivered to the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, having only been sent across the territory of Russia and to the occupied Crimea.
So these are the double standards of the ROC – urging ROCU parishioners in Ukraine to attend worship services defying quarantine, while sending instructions across Russia and the occupied territories to remain in quarantine and self-isolation. This should be considered as sabotage aimed at worsening the epidemiological situation in Ukraine.