Instructions to the rectors of parishes and courtyards, Abbots and Abbesses of monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church in connection with the threat of spread of coronavirus infection

The document was approved by the decision of the Holy Synod of March 17, 2020 (journal # 30).

For the sake of pastoral care of people, as well as in response to the request of the sanitary authorities, while maintaining a firm faith in God’s good Providence and in Divine omnipotence, the following rules are adopted, taking into account the canonical and liturgical Traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Until the epidemiological situation changes for the better and the diocesan administration gives appropriate instructions to terminate this instruction in full or in part, the following must be done in parishes, Patriarchal, Episcopal and monastic buildings, as well as in stauropigial and diocesan monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Concerning The Communion Of The Holy Mysteries Of Christ

1. Bearing in mind that the offering of a Bloodless Sacrifice can never be canceled, because where there is no Eucharist, there is no Church life, and also that the Holy Body and Blood of Christ are taught for the health of both the soul and the body (see, for example, the prayers of St. John Chrysostom, the 7th and 9th of the Preparation to Holy Communion), taking into account, however, the historical practice of the Orthodox Church in the conditions of epidemics[1], — Communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ is to be done with wiping the spoon with an alcohol-soaked cloth after each communicant (with regular renewal of the impregnation) and then dipping the spoon in water with respective disposal of water.

2. The water after Communion must be served separately for each participant in disposable glasses.

3. Use disposable sanitary gloves to distribute the antidoron.

4. Cloth for the communion of the laity must be used only to protect the Holy Mysteries from possible falling on the floor and for wiping the spoon only. Wiping of the mouths of the communicants must be with paper napkins which will be burnt. The cloths should be boiled and washed with due reverence after each liturgical use.

5. Communicants should refrain from kissing the Chalice.

Concerning the performance of the sacraments of Baptism and Anointing

6. Strictly adhere to the practice of changing and consecrating water for each individual case. In this regard, the sacrament of Baptism is performed only individually with intermediate disinfection (wiping) of the font (baptistery) with a disinfectant liquid.

7. For anointing with oil, use a cotton swab (instead of a string) and a paper napkin (instead of a sponge), followed by burning.

Concerning the performance of the sacrament of unction

8. When anointing the sick in the temples, use for each parishioner individually disposable cotton swabs, which must be burnt.

Other instructions regarding the performance of services, pastoral practice, and parish life

9. Instead of presenting the cross for kissing at the end of the divine Liturgy and other services, it is recommended to place the cross on the heads of parishioners.

10. Returning to the statutory practice, which has been changed in recent years, anointing at the all-night vigil is performed only in cases when the litias and the consecration of oil are performed. When anointing use for each parishioner separately a disposable string (a cotton swab) with subsequent disposal. In other cases, perform kissing of the gospel or a festive icon (cross) after the polyeleos only with the blessing of the priest and wiping the gospel and icon (cross) after each kissing using a disinfectant solution.

11. Clergymen are advised to refrain from offering their hands for kissing.

12. Use disposable hygiene gloves to distribute the prosphora and consecrated bread at the all-night vigil.

13. Pay special attention to the cleanliness of utensils and liturgical vessels, wiping them after each liturgical use and thoroughly washing them with boiling water.

14. Suspend the work of Sunday schools, as well as parish sections and activities until further notice.

15. If possible, the social services of parishes and monasteries should help elderly parishioners to deliver food and essential goods to their homes.

General instructions

16. Abbots should instruct employees of parishes and monasteries to strictly observe general hygiene measures, including hand disinfection during the day (at least once every 2 hours).

17. Provide frequent airing of churches, parish and monastery premises.

18. Regularly treat the surfaces of  temple furniture (including places for writing notes, candle boxes, etc.), as well as door handles with disinfectant solutions.

19. Regularly treat with disinfecting solutions icons located in the Church, which are applied to the parishioners.

20. Clergymen, clergy, and employees of parishes and monasteries should be responsible and attentive to their well-being. If you feel unwell, immediately inform the rector and seek medical help.

21. Abbots and rectors are required to measure the temperature before the start of the working day (for example, using a non-contact thermometer) for priests, clergy, and church employees who interact with a large number of parishioners.

22. Explain to parishioners that the implementation of the imposed regulations and restrictions should be performed as following the words of the Holy Scripture:” do not tempt the Lord your God ” (MT. 4:7). Also explain to parishioners that in case of symptoms of flue or other infectious diseases, they should refrain from visiting churches for the sake of love for their neighbors and care for them.

[1] – in particular: communion of patients with infectious diseases after other communicants (or even at a separate service) with wiping after each communicant with a cloth and then burning it; the use of a separate vessel for the patients and the spoon, washing them in vinegar with the pouring of the latter into a dry well

Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the parish of the Iveron icon of the Mother of God in the capital of the Philippines Manila on the day of the Iveron icon of the Theotokos

On February, 25, 2020, on the day of the Iveron icon of the Mother of God, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, the Administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the parish of the lveron icon of the Mother of God in Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines.

With His Eminence served the clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese: the Secretary of the diocese Hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), the Secretary of the Khanty-Mansi diocese Hieromonk Antony Kirpichev, the head priest of the church Hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), the priest of the Christ the Saviour parish of Tagaytay David Grubbs, the deans of Surgut and Nizhnevartovsk city deaneries of the Khanty-Mansi diocese Antony Isakov and Sergiy Shevchenko. The diaconal rank was headed by the deacon Daniel Matveev, the clergyman of the Khanty-Mansiysk’s Cathedral in the name of Christ’s Resurrection.

During the Divine Liturgy the parishioner Matthias Calo was made a reader and  

the subdeacon Ambrose Sumagaysay was ordained to the deaconate.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Pavel addressed the audience:

“Dear brothers and sisters!

The history of the Orthodox mission in the Philippines is closely linked to this church. In 1922, after the revolutionary years in Russia, the church was built here in Manila in the honor of the Iveron icon of the Theotokos. It lasted until 1945 when it was destroyed by the American army during the war with Japan. During my recent meeting with the leadership of the PH Ministry for Foreign Affairs, we came to the decision to restore the church in the name of the Iveron icon of the Theotokos, which is considered the spiritual centre of Orthodoxy in Manila. 

Today I especially have prayed and asked the Mother of God to help us in the renovation of this church. I am very happy to share with you the ecclesial prayers at the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Iberian icon of the Theotokos. This day is a special one for this Church and for all those who are praying in it, since today, the deacon ordination has been performed and another clergyman has been added to our Diocese of Philippines and Vietnam.

I would like to congratulate especially the deacon Ambrose on entering the ministry on the day of the celebration of the God’s Mother of Iveron icon, and wish him spiritual strengths and virtues. May the Queen of Heaven be his Patroness and Protectrix, helping him in the diaconal ministry of his flock.

I would also like to make a present to this church, the copy of the miracle-working image of the Blessed Virgin “The Joy and the Consolation”, which is originally located on the Mount Athos. The same icon will be given to our parish in Tagaytay, to the people who were affected by the volcano erruption. 

God bless everyone!”

Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated the divine Liturgy in the church of St. Isidore of Rostov in Alabel

On February 24, 2020, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, administrator of The Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, celebrated the divine Liturgy in the church of St. Isidore of Rostov in Alabel.

With His Eminence served the clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese: the Secretary of the diocese, hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), priest Siluan Thompson, priest David Grubbs, and priest Eugene Zucalo, Hieromonk Antony (Kirpichev), Secretary of the administrator of the Khanty-Mansi diocese, Archpriest Antony Isakov and Archpriest Sergiy Shevchenko, deans of the Surgut and Nizhnevartovsk city deaneries of the Khanty-Mansi diocese. The diaconal rank was headed by the cleric of the Resurrection Cathedral of Khanty-Mansiysk, deacon Daniel Matveev.

During the Liturgy, Metropolitan Paul ordained the head of the parish subdeacon Alexy Bergado to deaconate.

At the end of the service, Metropolitan Paul addressed the audience:

 “Dear fathers, brothers and sisters! There is no greater glory than to glorify your Heavenly Father together. Despite the fact that we are of different nationalities and live in different countries, we are united by Christ. We are brothers and sisters of one great Church and children of one Father. By praying together, we glorify the Lord, and we ask and pray that He will show us His mercy in the future, and help each of us to walk the path of life. I thank the Almighty for the opportunity to be with you today, to pray and glorify Him in this blessed land. As our Exarch Metropolitan Sergiy said: “Christ came to this land, and here the true Catholic faith is confirmed and strengthened.”

 Yesterday, I met with the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, and during the meeting I spoke about our communities of Mindanao, formed after the “aglipayan” division, there are already 30 of them. Mr. Minister said a remarkable thing: “aglipayans have always sought truth, and today they have found it by coming to the faith that was founded by Jesus Christ Himself!” I hope that our communities will receive support from the state, both in registration, land and legal issues. We will ask the Lord to bless these plans to come true. I thank all of you, my dear, for your common prayers, and I especially congratulate deacon Alexy on taking Holy orders. I hope that he will serve sincerely! God bless everyone!»

Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi met with Philippine foreign Minister Teodoro Loxin

On February 23, 2020, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi met with the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Philippines, Mr. Teodoro Loxin, in Manila.

During the working meeting, the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines conveyed greetings to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, his Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. The Minister also expressed gratitude for the presence and missionary activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Philippines and in particular within the island of Mindanao, supported by historical documentation confirming the continuity and necessity of the educational mission. When planning a trip to Russia, the Minister expressed his desire to attend the divine Liturgy, noting that it is only possible to understand the soul of the Russian people through faith, and its integral part is the Church Service. The Minister of foreign Affairs of the Philippines expressed his full support for the issues and projects of The Philippine-Vietnamese diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Philippines and the possibility of organizing a meeting between the ruling Bishop of The Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, and the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Mr. Rodrigo Duterte.

The meeting was also attended by Ambassador extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in the Republic of the Philippines Igor Anatolyevich Hovaev.

Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi celebrated the divine Liturgy in the Church of the Iveron icon of the mother of God in Manila

On February 23, 2020, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, the Administrator of The Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, celebrated the divine Liturgy at the parish in honor of the Iveron icon of the mother of God in Manila.

With His Eminence served  hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), Secretary of The Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, and hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), priest of this church.

At the end of the Service, Metropolitan Pavel read a message from the Exarch of South-East Asia, his Eminence Sergiy, Metropolitan of Singapore and South-East Asia:

To the most Reverend bishops and clergy, monastic and God-loving congregation of the Patriarchal Exarchate of South-East Asia

“Beloved of the Lord!

Heartfelt feelings and pastoral responsibility encourage me to turn to you, my dear.

A deadly disease is affecting more and more people, in another test, let by God on Earth. The peoples of the countries of canonical responsibility of the Patriarchal Exarchate of South-East Asia are particularly affected.

Over the centuries, humanity has repeatedly faced similar suffering. The Church has always been with its people, courageously sharing their sorrows, helping them overcome difficult trials, and pleading with our Lord and Savior for help in ending epidemics as soon as possible. Believers imposed additional fasts, made processions, and special prayers.

Christian love and compassion compel all of us to increase our prayers for people in mortal danger.

I call on all Orthodox communities of the Patriarchal Exarchate to perform a special prayer singing for the speedy recovery of the sick and the cessation of the spread of the disease.

Through the intercession of the most pure Theotokos and all the saints, may God have mercy and forgive us all!”

Also in the Church, a prayer singing was performed for the speedy recovery of the sick and the cessation of the spread of the disease.

Under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, a Diocesan meeting of the clergy and laity of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese was held

On February 22, 2020, after the divine Liturgy, in the church in honor of St. Seraphim of Sarov (Makalangot, Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines) a Diocesan meeting of the clergy and laity of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese was held under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi.

Metropolitan Pavel made a report summarizing the results of the work of The Philippine-Vietnamese diocese for 2019.

To date, it consists of 33 parishes and 11 prayer rooms. In 2019, 125 baptisms were performed, including 13 babies, 18 weddings, and 6 funerals. Every week, the divine Liturgy is celebrated in 6 parishes of the diocese. The Administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, visited the diocese 2 times in 2019 – in August and October, performing 5 Divine Liturgies and 8 prayers.

During the meeting, the members of the Diocesan Council were elected. By the decision of the meeting, the diocese’s Confessor was elected priest Siluan Thompson, and the chairmen of the diocesan departments were appointed.

The information Department of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese will be headed by hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), the religious education and catechization Department by hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), the social service and charity Department by priest David Grubbs, and the missionary Department by priest Moses Kahilig.

The Philippine-Vietnamese diocese has 5 deaneries: Manila, Davao, General Santos,  Davao del Sur and Vietnam.

In the Philippines, the first temple of the Russian Orthodox Church was consecrated with the ceremony of the Great blessing

On February 22, 2020, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, the Administrator of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, performed the rite of the Great consecration of the church in honor of St. Seraphim of Sarov in the village of Makalangot (Mindanao, Republic of the Philippines) and headed the divine Liturgy in the newly consecrated church.

With His Eminence served the clergy of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese: the Secretary of the diocese, hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), priest Siluan Thompson, hieromonk Alexei (Lapshin), priest David Grubbs, priest Eugene Zukalo, priest Joakim Gonzales, priest Roman Buniel, and priest Moses Kahilig, hieromonk Antony (Kirpichev), Secretary of the Administrator of the Khanty-Mansi diocese, and Archpriest Antony Isakov and Archpriest Sergiy Shevchenko, deans of the Surgut and Nizhnevartovsk city deaneries of the Khanty-Mansi diocese and a cleric of the Resurrection Cathedral of Khanty-Mansiysk deacon Daniel Matveev.

At the small entrance, by the decree of Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi, the Secretary of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese, hieromonk Cornelius (Molev), was awarded the right to wear a golden pectoral cross for his diligent service to the Holy Church.

During the Liturgy, Metropolitan Pavel ordained the head of the parish of St. Seraphim of Sarov of Makalangot (Philippines) sub-deacon Nicholas Salgado to the diaconate.

At the end of the service, Metropolitan Pavel addressed the audience:

 “Dear brothers and sisters, I cordially and sincerely greet you on this special day for all of us. Today we specifically asked the Lord to send us His divine grace and sanctify this temple, to be present here forever, so that everyone who comes to this temple will be united with God in prayer and sacraments!

“The house of God will be called the house of prayer,” as the Holy Scripture says, and today we prayed for all those who have contributed to the construction of this temple. This day is special in the annals of our diocese also because we performed the diaconal ordination of a parishioner of this church who took Holy orders today, and I hope that he will sincerely serve God and people. During 3 days of our visit, we performed three Divine liturgies and three diaconal ordinations, adding these days to the history of our diocese by adding clergy from our parishioners who are ready to serve God. But it is possible to serve God only through serving one’s neighbor. I prayed for this, and asked deacons Nicholas, Matthew, and John to pray that the Lord would strengthen them in faith for the most important service on earth – to be a worthy servant of the Lord. Our clergy has been replenished with three clergymen, and I am happy that our Church, our Filipino diocese, is growing both in quantity and in quality. I am sure that the Church Foundation being laid today will be strong and reliable, like this temple, the first in the history of this diocese, built and consecrated by the Great blessing. I think that a good start has been made and the construction of temples on the Philippines land will continue. I thank all of you for your prayers and participation in the construction of this Holy church. I congratulate everyone on this event – for this event is not only for this village and not only for the Philippines – it is a celebration of the entire universal Orthodoxy, the true Orthodox Catholic Church! I would like to give a present to this Church, an icon of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we brought from Russia, so that the Risen Lord can show everyone the way to salvation. God bless everyone!»

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The community of the Makalangot church converted to Orthodoxy from the Independent Philippine Church, informally called “aglipayan”, in 2015, as a result of the adoption of the Orthodox faith by Fr. Moses Cahilig, now the priest of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese. For a long time, prayers and services were performed in a bamboo hut without walls. in 2017, the Patriarchal Exarch, Metropolitan Sergiy of Singapore and South-East Asia, blessed the construction of the temple. The Church was built with the active participation of benefactors from Russia. The foreman Igor Diamond and Orthodox community of Davao made a big contribution to the construction.