Speaking on Monday at a service in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged the faithful not to fear contracting coronavirus in holy spaces.
“I regret that the circumstances surrounding the pandemic are certainly reducing the number of faithful attending church,” Kirill told the congregation.
“It is understandable. It is clear that some people are afraid of getting sick, so the last thing they need is to fear getting sick at church,” he continued. “Firstly, God’s grace is here, and secondly, we follow the rules so that people do not come into close contact. The church is not a place where the infection spreads.”
Kirill himself was vaccinated against Covid-19 earlier this year. The church has backed calls for people to be inoculated but has stopped short of supporting compulsory jabs.
In October last year, the Patriarch suggested that Covid-19 was the “last call” for humanity to turn to spiritual life, stressing that the epidemic called for people to “live outside the law of lust” and impose greater self-restraint on themselves.
According to Russia’s coronavirus HQ on Monday morning, 32,136 new cases of coronavirus infection had been registered in Russia in the past 24 hours. In the same time frame, 1,184 died from the virus, while 28,070 citizens recovered.