Religious services in Romania on Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday will be held without the participation of believers, said the Romanian Minister of the Interior Affairs, Marcel Vela.
“Religious services on the night of the Resurrection and Easter Sunday will be held in accordance with the guidelines of the Romanian Orthodox Church and the government’s provisions on public gatherings, without the participation of believers in churches, in the courtyard or in places near the churches,” said Vela.
Moreover, as provided for by the new agreement concluded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Romanian Orthodox Church, the faithful will not leave their homes in order to receive the Holy Fire. According to the interior minister, under the new agreement, the police will not participate in the transfer of Holy Fire, which will eventually be distributed to the faithful of each parish by church staff and five volunteers at most at 20.00 on the night of Holy Saturday.
“The Holy Fire will be distributed to the parishes by church staff and five volunteers at most on Holy Saturday at 20.00. Church staff in each parish, assisted by a number of up to five volunteers, with protective equipment (masks and gloves) will ensure the distribution of the Holy Fire, following the rules set for coronavirus protection,” said the Romanian minister.
He added that the Holy Fire would be received by the faithful who would be at their home. “Those who will receive the Holy Fire should also wear protective equipment,” said Vela.
The previous agreement between the Interior Ministry and the Orthodox Church provoked strong reactions in the Romanian domestic politics, with representatives of parliamentary parties calling for its change. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis had also voiced opposition to the agreement, urging worshipers to stay home and called for it to be changed with the aim of protecting the population from coronavirus as much as possible.