By Kostas Onisenko
Moscow authorities have announced strict restrictions due to COVID-19 pandemic regarding the Christmas celebrations in the Russian capital.
As authorities in Russia try to curb the spread of the virus, the Church has also been called upon to comply with restrictions in many parts of the country.
Despite the fact that Russians celebrate Christmas on January 7, restrictions on Christmas services in churches have already been announced.
In Moscow, the country’s largest municipality, authorities announced that all faithful should maintain social distancing and wear face masks and gloves. Face masks and gloves should also be worn when communicating with priests, even when it comes to confession.
After all, as Patriarch Kirill of Moscow said last Thursday, the number of believers attending Sunday and festal services has already been reduced by a third and in some parishes and by half due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Speaking at the annual Moscow provincial meeting, the Russian Patriarch said that 350 clergymen of the Moscow Patriarchate and 720 monks were ill or still ill with coronavirus. According to the Patriarch, in 2020, 91 clergymen and monks reposed in the Lord (until last Thursday) while the corresponding number one year earlier was 33 people.