The Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Vladimir (Ikim), has issued an outrageous statement to the faithful on the eve of the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The hierarch has claimed there is no coronavirus in Orthodox temples, so parishioners should not be afraid to attend services.
“You should not be afraid to go to temples. There’s no covid our temples. You could get sick on a bus, in a shop, or at a market. In our church, priests in our church never got sick. We had a priest who died after contracting the virus from his family. You shouldn’t be afraid to take communion, it’s all pure, all holy,” the Superomsk outlet quotes the hierarch as saying on the air of a religious TV show on January 13.
It should be noted that the head of the ROC, Patriarch Kirill (Gundyaev) also publicly shares the idea voiced by Metropolitan Vladimir (Ikim). The Russian hierarch previously claimed minimal risk of being infected with the coronavirus in temples.
At the same time, the actions of the ROC leader suggest he doesn’t really believe in the unquestionable safety of attending churches amid the pandemic. Earlier reports stated that on January 6, on Christmas eve, Kirill (Gundyaev) led a service in the Church of Christ the Savior, where all ROC clergy, except the Russian hierarch, served wearing face masks. It is quite possible that this mandate was approved by the primate’s order.
So now the Russian faithful should weigh the arguments about the “covid-free” temples, put forward by the Russian Orthodox clergy, who by their actions contradict their own words.