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