A novel way to administer some traditional sacraments, including confession, has been adopted by the Russian Orthodox Church as the country takes increasingly restrictive social distancing measures to combat coronavirus.
Strict home isolation rules adopted by authorities in some Russian regions have posed a challenge for Christians wanting to continue with their spiritual lives while the pandemic rages. With more 35,000 people infected nationwide, many worshippers are staying away from chapels for the moment. While churches remain open in many parts of Russia, most churches in Moscow are currently not open to the public.
The Church has promptly come to the aid of its flock and offered them some rather unusual ways of participating in traditional sacraments. Most recently, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Synodic Department for External Church Relations, told the faithful that they can use modern technology.
“I believe that, in some extraordinary situation, one can confess by phone or by Skype,” he said, adding that a worshipper has to make an arrangement with a priest first.
He also added that the Russian Orthodox Church broadcasts more of its services online now, providing believers access to them from home.
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