On July 18, 2020, on the feast day of the Uncovering of the Venerable Relics of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia officiated a Divine Liturgy at the square of the Holy Trinity – St. Sergius Lavra, reports the official website of the ROC. At the end of the divine service, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed those present with a homily, in which he shared his thoughts on what humanity should learn from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today we are in a somewhat unusual position. During the life of each of us, our generation, there has never been such a situation on the day of St. Sergius, in the summer celebration of his memory, nor has there ever been anything like what is happening today in the entire recorded history of the human race,” said the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. “History knows of terrible epidemics that struck not only individual nations or states, but entire continents. There is a known plague epidemic in Europe, other epidemics that affected the inhabitants of this or that country and even the entire continent, but never in all human history has there been a disease that can truly be called a pandemic, that is one that spreads over the whole world.”
“Of course, different specialists have different answers to what is happening to us. But we, as people of faith, must have our own view of what is happening,” continued His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. “We know: everything that happens, especially on a global scale, is allowed by the Lord, which means that the Lord, for the first time in history, allowed the spread of a deadly disease over the whole world, and this happened as if at the peak of human power. After all, man has never been so strong: huge knowledge has been acquired, new technologies have been created on its basis, the structure of human society is completely different from all previous times. The incredible achievements of the human mind have led many to the realization or, better to say, to the delusion about the complete power of man in this world. ”
“And suddenly a pandemic occurs, some kind of incomprehensible disease. No one can explain where it came from, why people all over the world suddenly fell ill, why we are struggling and cannot find a cure. And some say that the medicine, even if it is discovered, will not necessarily work effectively, because this “smart” virus can deceive a person,” the Patriarch noted.
“We, believers, have no answer to the question of what kind of virus this is. This is not our business, let the scientists do this, but we must understand that this virus destroyed the sinful idea of man about his full power, about his central place in the whole civilization. But if so, what conclusions should we draw? If the pandemic revealed human weakness, our inability to fight, at least for today, then is it not a sign from above that we should think about life? So that we would understand: everything that is used by a person to justify his power, his behavior filled with pride, all of this can be destroyed overnight by the power of God,” said the Primate of the Russian Church.
“Today there really is an opportunity to think – for those who are responsible for countries, for international relations – how it is necessary to cooperate in order to expel human evil from international relations, so that people feel like one family. Thinkers, philosophers, politicians and, first of all, we, believers, need to reconsider again and again our attitude towards ourselves, towards man, towards his role in global history and understand that the Lord is above all of us,” added His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.
“What is happening to us, to the whole human race, as I have already mentioned, is God’s permission. But not to death, not to destruction, but, we believe, to the renewal of our life and, by the grace of God, let us pray for this, to the renewal of the entire human race. It is not known whether the Lord will ever give us such an amazing global testimony of His presence in the world, as He does now. Through this sorrow, which motivates each of us to renew our faith and again to realize that it is the Lord who is the King of history, He is the Creator life, the world is governed by His providence,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said.
“Therefore, we must accept the hardships that are caused by the spread of this terrible disease not with fear, not with sorrow, but with renewed faith. We really need to become different, and I try to speak about it so loudly that everyone can hear me: [that includes] both believers and non-believers, Orthodox and non-Orthodox. This is really a chance for the human race to change itself in order to regain the grace of God, and along with this grace, a new life, which would be arranged according to God’s law,” concluded His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.