The Romanian Orthodox Church allows believers not to kiss the holy icons and to use their own teaspoons to avoid spreading the new virus after the first case in the country has been confirmed.
“Believers who are afraid of virus transmission may temporarily refrain from kissing the holy icons in the churches. They can exceptionally ask the priest to use their own spoon for the Holy Communion,” says an announcement by the Church while adding that “these are exceptional measures taken only because of the threat of an epidemic.”
The Romanian Orthodox Church has 16 million believers, accounting for 86% of the population.
Romanian Catholics, who account for 4.6% of the population, are urged “not to sing themselves with the holy water and to avoid shaking hands as a gesture of peace during the mass,” according to the letter sent to the faithful by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bucharest, Aurel Percă.
Romania has reinforced measures to prevent the spread of the epidemic, by quarantining people who have been at the danger zones of China and Italy.