MOSCOW: March 12, 2020
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church issues a statement on the Coronavirus situation
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church perceives with concern the spread of the coronavirus infection in the world and its consequences for millions of people, many of whom not only faced the threat of infection, but also experienced social and economic consequences of this occurrence.
Members of the Holy Synod express their condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this disease in China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and other countries.
Blessed before the Lord are the works of doctors and volunteers who develop and implement medical and preventive measures aimed at helping patients and stopping the further spread of the disease.
In times of epidemics, the Russian Orthodox Church always carried out its witness ministry, without refusing anyone spiritual nurture and full participation in Her Sacraments. We encourage people to exercise restraint, keep a clear head, and to maintain prayerful calm. We pay attention to the fact that a believer should not succumb to panic and fears associated with the spread of unverified information about the infection.
At the same time, it is unacceptable to take the coronavirus infection lightly, neglect medical prescriptions, ignore preventive measures, endangering the infection of oneself and others.
The Holy Synod considers it important to observe sanitary and hygienic preventive measures in a consistent and rigorous way at parishes and monasteries, especially in those regions where the epidemiological situation is officially recognized as difficult, including the wider use of sanitary solutions for the disinfection of icon cases, which believers venerate.
If coronavirus infection spreads in a specific region, additional preventative measures may be taken in consultation with the Hierarchy.
The Holy Synod encourages archpastors, pastors, monks and lay people of the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify prayer for overcoming the disease and for the bestowal of strength on doctors who are fighting it.