The Holy Synod of Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which held a meeting at the Holy Dormition Kiev-Pechersk Lavra on March 18, 2020, discussed church life in the context of the spread of the COVID-19 and stated that today the churches of the UOC remain open and all services are held in them. This was reported on the official page of the UOC on Facebook.
Under the threat of the spread of the coronavirus in Ukraine, the Holy Synod adopted the following decisions:
- Due to the state-introduced restrictions on the number of people (up to 10 people) that can be present in a church simultaneously, churches should be constantly open to believers;
- If more than 10 people came to a divine service, it must be held near the church, in the open air, where parishioners can be at a distance from each other that is acceptable according to sanitary and epidemiological standards;
- If necessary, believers are allowed to participate in the Confession and Communion Sacraments in small groups at churches throughout a day;
- A communion drink after the Holy Communion must be served in disposable cups;
- The icons which are revered through kissing by the congregation must be constantly cleaned with disinfectants, churches and temple rooms need wet cleaning and airing more often than usually;
- Those who feel the symptoms of an infectious disease must refrain from attending services and if they feel unwell, they should consult a doctor.
The Holy Synod also resolved to:
- Emphasize the need to remain calm and not give in to panic;
- Encourage the clergy, monastics and laity to join in fervent prayer;
- Approve the text of prayer and litany requests;
- State that, as of today, churches are open and all divine services are performed in them. To consider it appropriate to perform prayers during the quarantine period with sprinkling of holy water and bell ringing;
- Be attentive to the decisions and recommendations of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and state authorities regarding anti-epidemic measures and restrictions;
- If the situation with the spread of the coronavirus infection worsens, which will require additional restrictions, the diocesan bishops shall coordinate their decisions with the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church;
- To publish an Address in connection with the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
The Address of the Holy Synod of UOC to the people of Ukraine in connection with the threat of the coronavirus epidemic, adopted at the meeting on March 18, will be made public on Sunday, March 22, 2020, in all churches and monasteries of the UOC.