By Kostas Onisenko
The meeting of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, led by the Metropolitan Epiphaniy of Kyiv and all Ukraine, was held via teleconference yesterday.
According to an announcement from the Church of Ukraine, the protection of the faithful during the pandemic was one of the most important issues discussed.
In particular, they discussed the letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew regarding the offering of Holy Communion to the faithful as well as the issue of the annual celebration of the Baptism of the Rus’ in Ukraine on the 28th of July.
Moreover, on the issue of Holy Communion, after having read the letter of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, they decided to send a letter of reply.
According to their letter, the security measures taken by the Orthodox Church of Ukraine would be observed, as it is recommended by health authorities, without contradicting any ecclesiastical practice: “Given the temporary emergency situation, the faithful will be receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the same way that the clergy does during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, that is:
There will be prepared portions of the Body of Christ in which the Blood of Christ will be added with a spoon (in the same way the Gifts that are kept in the artophorion, also known as tabernacle). They will be offered on a tray (or with a spoon without touching the mouth) to the faithful who received Holy Communion.
At the same time, people who receive Holy Communion must be informed about how they can carefully be offered Gifts. They will use disposable wipes to wipe their lips, which will later be thrown away. They will also use disposable cups to drink water after receiving Holy Communion otherwise they will only receive antidoron.”
They also discussed the issue of the traditional celebration of the Baptism of the Rus’ in Ukraine (the 1032nd anniversary), which will take place in quarantine conditions due to the pandemic. They decided to celebrate the feast at provincial and parish level, in compliance with the security measures. However, the faithful will not be allowed to go to Kyiv for the traditional pilgrimage due to the quarantine measures.
They also decided to combine the celebration of the 1032nd anniversary of the Baptism the Rus’ in Ukraine with the 400th anniversary of the ordination of Metropolitan Job and the restoration of the hierarchy of the Orthodox Metropolis of Kyiv (in 1620).