Will there be any limits on the number of parishioners in churches, how to consecrate an Easter basket this year, will churches be open at all, and what do the clergy say? We understand what is known on the eve of the holidays.
The authorities do not plan to close the churches on Easter yet, said chief sanitary doctor of Ukraine Viktor Lyashko. The Ministry of Health is only working out a list of restrictions on holidays, a decision on the format is expected within a week.
For this, negotiations are underway with religious organizations and leaders. But, according to Lyashko, it will be a "difficult dialogue" and an optimal and compromise solution will have to be found in the matter of holding the Easter holidays.
"We want someone to be in the temple, but with all the restrictions, and someone must stay outside. Plus, the online Easter format, which was last year, is possible," Lyashko said.
Lyashko recalled that now there are restrictions for churches if they are in the "orange" or "red" zones.
According to the rules of the Ministry of Health, you must wear masks in public buildings. Religious mass events with more than 20 participants are prohibited in the "orange" zone. With the participation of up to 20 people, a distance of at least 1.5 m must be maintained between them. In the "red" service, it is prohibited to hold services, except for cases when the area of the premises is not less than 10 square meters. m per person.
At the same time, individual cities can impose their own restrictions. For example, in Ternopil, the city council first completely banned services in churches, and then recommended the use of disposable dishes or disinfectants for religious rituals. The parishioners were recommended to participate in worship services in front of the temple, in the open air.
As of April 14, Kyiv and 11 regions (Zhytomyr, Zaporizhia, Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Sumy, Kharkiv, Khmelnytsky, Chernivtsi, and Chernihiv) are in the "red" zone.
Vinnytsia, Volyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kirovohrad, Luhansk, Poltava, Rivne, Ternopil, and Cherkasy regions are in the "orange" zone. Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk and Kherson regions were in the "yellow" zone.
Church representatives position
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) will celebrate Easter in churches in compliance with all quarantine norms, but an individual approach will be taken into account in each parish. Metropolitan Anthony, the head of the UOC, spoke about this, the Information Center of the UOC reports.
If strict quarantine remains in force until Easter, services will be held outdoors, but in any case, the temples will not be closed to believers.
"This year Orthodox Easter is later than last, so we hope that if the weather permits and there is no opportunity to serve in churches, people will pray on the territory adjacent to the temple. We are considering different options, but there can be no single standard, after all, churches are different: large, small. Somewhere the territory allows you to gather together and pray, but somewhere there is no such opportunity. We approach each parish and monastery individually," he said.
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) will hold the service according to last year's scenario, said the speaker of the OCU, Archbishop Yevstratiy Zorya. The OCU also organizes online services for parishioners.
"It will be approximately the same as last year, adjusted for the current situation at that time," he said.
The OCU will follow national guidelines.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC-KP) will not hold mass services on Easter (but there will be prayer in the church), the rite of consecration of Easter cakes will be held on the street.
However, they clarified that they would proceed from the decision of the state authorities. Volodymyrsky Cathedral will be opened.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) has not yet announced its format for celebrating Easter.
At the moment, divine services are held in the churches of the UGCC, presence at prayer is possible only in a mask, the sacrament of confession is carried out by priests in compliance with the rules of quarantine and distance.
Ukraine’s most popular churches
If a temple or church has its own website or page on social networks, then services are broadcast online. So, for example, they make the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the Holy Dormition Pochaiov Lavra, the Cathedral of St. George, the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, the UGCC, the St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, and others.
The schedule for the Easter holidays has not yet been published. However, there is a schedule for the coming days, as well as for Holy Week before Easter.
Holy Week in the Holy Dormition Svyatohorska Lavra (Donetsk region) will be with liturgies, but nothing is known about Easter events. According to the schedule of services for April, the site will host:
April 25 - Palm Sunday. Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem.
April 26 - Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
April 27 - Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
April 28 - Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
April 29 - Remembrance of the Last Supper. Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.
April 30 - Great Friday. Remembrance of the Holy Savior Passion of the Lord. Liturgy is not supposed to be.
Liturgies are also broadcast online on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, and the church accepts notes for prayer memorials for health and repose through instant messengers.
Note that last year in the Svyatohorska Lavra on Easter, a crowd of parishioners gathered without masks and no distance. The police even opened criminal proceedings.
St. Elias Church in Kyiv (Pochainynska St., 2) on Palm Sunday will hold two liturgies: at 7:30 and 10:00. The temple warns that services will be performed with strict observance of restrictions, you must wear medical masks and keep a distance of 2 meters.