Russian Orthodox Church imposes new rules to fight coronavirus spread, but only in Moscow
The Russian Orthodox Church has developed new rules to curb the spread of coronavirus during church services. The precautions have been approved by Patriarch Kirill, but they apply only to the Moscow diocese.
As part of the new safety measures, spoons used for wine in communion services must be wiped off with an alcohol-soaked cloth and dunked in water. The church’s Moscow diocese is also introducing single-use cups for zapivka (wine diluted with water consumed after communion) and parishioners’ mouths will be wiped using paper napkins that will then be burned. Churchgoers will also be asked not to kiss the communion cup.
The church officials who cut the consecrated bread will now wear disposable gloves and a cotton swab and paper towel will be used in confirmations. At the end of mass, parishioners will no longer be given a cross to kiss (it will merely be touched to their heads). Priests have also been asked to refrain from offering their hands to be kissed.
The Russian Orthodox Church has said it will not close its doors or cancel religious services during the coronavirus pandemic, but the clergy has promised to “listen” to the advice of health officials. The church has asked people experienced “SARS symptoms” to stay at home.