For the first time in history, Ukraine is closed for quarantine. Since the world learned about the Covid-19 coronavirus, many events are happening “for the first time in history”: all Catholic churches were closed in Rome, animals were banned in China, and school exams were canceled in Scotland.
Now, for the first time in history, Ukrainians will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus online, and bless of the food remotely. So, how this will happen and do the representatives of churches support this format.
Payer services without church-goers
Let's start with the format of the Easter holidays.
It was determined by the Ministry of Internal Affairs together with representatives of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches. Thus:
- services in churches will be held, but with the participation of no more than ten people - the broadcast for worshippers will take place online;
- a limited number of people may be present in places of worship, specifically: a priest, an altar boy, a clerk and persons who technically support the service and provide online broadcasting;
- a prerequisite is wearing protective masks or respirators by everyone present in the cathedral, except the clergyman;
- believers are not forbidden to attend the church individually when a worship service is not being held, but in this case the number of people who are simultaneously at the same time should not exceed 2 persons in large rooms and 1 person in a small room (not counting the clergyman). All those present are required to wear masks, and there should be no lines outside.
The President’s Office noted that in order to help people celebrate Easter at home, national post operator Ukrposhta already accepts orders for free delivery of blessed Easter cakes.
"You can order a free Easter bread delivery on the Ukrposhta website or through the contact center 0 800 300 545 until April 12. And postmen or couriers will bring Easter cakes home on April 13 - 17, depending on the date of order and the locality," - the Minister of Infrastructure Vladyslav Krykliy explained.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs earlier announced that in the case of believers' attempts to attend churches, police patrols "will tolerantly and reasonably explain the need to comply with lockdown rules."
How to bless Easter cakes and Easter baskets
In the countryside, believers will be able to put Easter baskets out of the fences of their houses, and the priest will be able to walk through the streets and consecrate them. Thus, it will be possible to minimize the number of contacts between people.
Representatives of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate): what they say
According to him, up to 10 people are allowed to stay inside in a temple itself and the church is going to observe the rule. On the street, parishioners will be able to take part in the service, but at a distance of 1.5 meters from each other or more.
The process of blessing the Easter cakes, according to Clement, will also be organized with the sanitary and epidemiological standards in view.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) hopes that the authorities will not decide to close the churches during the Easter service.
Orthodox Church of Ukraine at the meeting of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine decided that:
bishops and clergy through the media, announcements, in sermons and personal communication, should ask all lay people to stay home and participate in prayer service through online;
not to hold consecrate services to hallow willow and Easter dishes for the laity in churches and on the territory of the churches, in order to prevent crowds;
in non-service time, do not refuse the laity who individually come to the church. If possible, during the holidays, especially on April 12, 18 and 19, only one priest should be on duty in the church;
in small towns, the consecration of Easter dishes will take place near the places of residence - on the streets near the houses or in the yards, enforcing "social distancing";
it is necessary to arrange with the relevant institutions the possibility of consecrating Easter dishes in advance at the places of their production and sale. In this case, buyers shall be informed in writing that their dishes have already been consecrated;
to walk around the church, or to carry out the shroud of the Christ in the church, or to walk around the temple only with those who participate in the worship service, observing the "social distancing";
visiting cemeteries on memorial days after Easter and prayers for them was postponed to Trinity parental memorial Saturday (June 6).
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Svyatoslav Shevchuk, emphasized that, during the lockdown, the church absolves believers from:
participation in Sunday and holiday services;
confession and communion.
He noted that today the latter is a particularly delicate thing because when the believers ask the priest to give the sacrament, he has no moral right to refuse.
“But I ask you: please do not insist. In the current circumstances, I ask you to confess only in danger of death,” Svyatoslav urged, adding that it would be possible to confess and take communion within a month after the lockdown expires.
The head of the church urged all the faithful to stay at home, but if people do come to the church, they must follow the quarantine rules, just like the priests.
"If possible, please pray on the street, keeping social distance and observing the requirements of sanitary standards... Even if someone asks for Holy Communion, the priest must make every effort to ensure the safety of this sacrament," the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church emphasized.
First of all, the clergyman must wear protective masks and, after each oblationary, responsibly disinfect the spoon with a towel soaked in alcohol of the appropriate concentration. In turn, taking the sacrament, you need to try not to touch the spoon.
Svyatoslav asked not to bring willow and Easter baskets to the consecration this time.
“You can consecrate both the vine and the Easter baskets in your homes with the help of online broadcasts. Where it is impossible to participate in Easter services, the head of the family can sprinkle these dishes with holy water. And please rest assured, you can adequately celebrate the Resurrection of Christ,” stated the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.