This document was adopted at a session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on March 11, 2020.
The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church has been following with concern the spread of the coronavirus infection throughout the world and its consequences for millions of people, many of whom not only face the threat of infection, but are also experiencing social and economic consequences therefrom.
Members of the Holy Synod express their condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this disease in China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and other countries (including the U.S. and Canada ‒ ed.).
Blessed before the Lord are the works of doctors and volunteers who develop and implement medical and preventive measures aimed at helping patients and stopping the further spread of the disease.
In times of epidemics, the Russian Orthodox Church always carried out Her witness ministry, without refusing anyone spiritual nourishment and full participation in Her Sacraments. We encourage people to exercise restraint, keep a clear head, and maintain prayerful calm. We call attention to the fact that a believer should not succumb to panic and fears associated with the spread of unverified information regarding the infection.
At the same time, it is unacceptable to take the coronavirus infection lightly, neglect medical prescriptions, ignore preventive measures, or risk the infection of oneself and others.
The Holy Synod considers it important to observe sanitary and hygienic preventive measures in a consistent and rigorous way in the parishes and monasteries, especially in those regions where the epidemiological situation is officially elevated, including the wider use of sanitary solutions for the disinfection of icon cases, which believers venerate, and disposable cups for zapivka.
If the coronavirus infection spreads in a specific region, additional preventative measures may be taken in consultation with the Hierarchy. The Holy Synod encourages the archpastors, pastors, monks, and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church to intensify their prayers for overcoming the disease and for the bestowal of strength on the doctors who are fighting it.