In connection with the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, I urge the children of the Church of Christ to strengthen their prayers. I also want to note that a frivolous attitude to one’s health and life is unacceptable, since it is a gift from God. Do not ignore the advice from doctors. The orders from the authorities to limit and prohibit the holding of large-scale events, so as not to endanger themselves and others, should be treated with understanding
During this challenging time, I urge everyone not to succumb to fears and panic, but to trust in the Lord and be in constant prayer in church and at home. One should not fall into despondency and to be weak in sorrows. The Holy Church teaches, in the words of St. John Chrysostom, “To bear something woeful is just as good as to do good deeds.”
At this time of trials and tribulations, God and the Church are closer to us, therefore there is nothing more important than the ministry of the Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion. Today, the Holy Orthodox Church fulfils all the Sacraments that are fundamental for the salvation of the human soul, and rejection of them is incompatible with our faith. There is no need to fear that during Holy Communion you can become infected with some kind of disease – this thought is blasphemous, because the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of the health of the soul and the body.
I urge Christians to be responsive and attentive to their health, observe preventive measures and if they feel unwell, to seek medical help immediately. When symptoms of the disease appear, I urge you to refrain from visiting church until you have recovered. I also order the priests to provide additional measures to prevent the spread of infection.
In conclusion, I want to again turn to the words of St. John Chrysostom, who consoles and instructs us in the courageous endurance against trials: “Praise God for everything! This inflicts a mortal wound on the devil and, in all misfortune and temptation, praising God through prayer provides the strongest means of encouragement and comfort. Never stop praying and thanking God for everything and teach others to also do so.”
Metropolitan Korniliy of Moscow and All Russia of the Russian Orthodox Old-Rite Church