As coronavirus spreads, the Russian Orthodox Church stays open and flouts Moscow's calls to avoid religious sites
The Russian Orthodox Church says it will not close cathedrals and churches next week in Moscow, during the national holiday called yesterday by President Putin to curb the spread of coronavirus. The church issued this statement in defiance of Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who has asked Muscovites to refrain from visiting religious sites next week.
“The clergy’s pastoral duty will be fully fulfilled in relation to those believers who find it personally necessary in these difficult times to come to church to pray for their loved ones and for our people,” declared the Russian Orthodox Church’s coronavirus working group.
The church will also broadcast worship services on television and online, for parishioners who decide to stay home.
Between March 28 and April 5, officials in Moscow and the Moscow region are temporarily closing all non-grocery stores, beauty salons, restaurants, and cafes. City residents are also being advised not to visit religious sites.
On March 25, President Putin canceled work for all non-essential laborers between March 30 and April 3. He promised to maintain workers’ salaries, though it’s still unclear who will pay for this.