At this difficult time, when the governmental authorities are taking all possible
measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection, I call upon the hierarchs,
clergy, monastics and laypeople to intensify your prayer to the Lord for the deliverance
of people from the harmful epidemic, and I call upon the arhpastors and pastors to
continue to zealously celebrate divine services and especially the Holy Eucharist – the
Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ – even in the absence of the flock due to the
authorities’ respective recommendations. “Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work
of God” (The Rule of St Benedict of Nursia, chapter 43).
Today many of us are compelled to take upon themselves the feat of constantly
staying in their homes. To them I am saying: let the place of your solitude become a desert
of your personal and domestic work of prayer, according to the Gospel: “But thou, when
thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father
which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Mt
6:6). May in this feat we also be inspired by the example of the Venerable Mary of Egypt
who had spent many years in the desert in solitary prayer.
These days we are losing an opportunity to attend together the Lenten divine
service, which we all hold dear. Yet, we know that even the gates of hell cannot prevail
against the Church of Christ (cf. Mt 16:18). “Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or
sword? <…> in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us
<…> neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate
us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:35-39). Even while
in forced separation, as throughout history followers of Christ often found themselves
scattered over deserts and mountains, caves and gorges of the earth, we remain the
inviolable community of faith united by the prayer which we offer to the Lord Jesus in
our heart. In this prayer we are not alone – standing together with us before God’s Altar
are our holy kinsfolk, the saints of the Russian Church from all epochs of her historical
being, inspiring and encouraging us. “Take heart, the Church of Christ <…> for the
friends of Christ are taking care of you – those standing in the presence of Him and
gathered round Him” (Sessational hymn after the Polyeleos during the Service to the New
Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church).
Brothers and sisters, let us endure temporary privations in order to preserve the life
and health of our neighbours. Let us patiently undergo the affliction which has befallen
us in the firm hope that the Almighty Lord, Who took upon Himself the sufferings and
death on the cross for humankind and Who by His Resurrection opened for us the path to
salvation, will in good time change this affliction into the joy of the meeting in praising
Him by our joint prayers in a church during the divine service, “and the Lord God will
wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from
off all the earth” (Is 25:8).
In these days let us lift up fervent prayers for those who are selflessly striving to
put an end to the pestilent epidemic and those who are working to sustain the life of our
cities, towns and villages. Let us be grateful to them and give them all the support we can.
I also thank all of you, dear Vladykas, fathers, brothers and sisters, for your zealous
service to the Lord, to His Church and to each other.
I am unceasingly praying for all of you.
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA
President of the Philippines R. Duterte declared the next week a Week of National Prayer for deliverance from the coronavirus infection.
His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill approved prayer requests in connection with the threat of spreading coronavirus infection.
Petitions will be offered at the Divine Liturgy in all the churches of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Earlier, the Holy Synod at a meeting on March 11 this year adopted a Statement in connection with the spread of coronavirus infection.
“During the times of epidemics, the Russian Orthodox Church has always carried out its witness service, not denying anyone spiritual care and full participation in its Sacraments,” the statement says. — We call for restraint, preservation of sobriety and prayerful calm, we draw attention to the fact that a believer should not give in to panic and fears associated with the spread of unverified information about infection. At the same time, it is unacceptable to treat coronavirus infection lightly, ignore medical prescriptions, ignore preventive measures, exposing yourself and others to the risk of infection.”
Petitions at the litany of fervent supplication at the Divine Liturgy, offered during the spread of a malicious plague:
“Again we pray Thee, O Lord our God, to mercifully deliver us from the ruinous plague threatening to us and to spare Thy faithful people of death of soul and body; to the heal the sick, and to protect and save us, O merciful Lord, soon hearken and have mercy on us.
Again we pray for calming of the confusion and disturbance of people, for protection of the faithful with a firm hope, and for planting peace and silence in our hearts, O Lord, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.”
Prayer during the spread of a malicious plague:
“O Lord our God, do not enter into judgment with Thy servants, and protect us from the pernicious pestilence threatening to us. Have mercy on us, Thy humble and unworthy servants, who fall down in repentance with warm faith and heartfelt compunction to Thee, our merciful God, and we trust in Thy compassion.
For it is Thine to have mercy on us and save us, O our God, and to Thee we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Press service of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia
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 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.
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.
 – 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
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!”
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!»
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.