In response to the coronavirus epidemic, the churches of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem held prayer services after Divine Liturgy on the second Sunday of Great Lent, March 15, 2020.
The Chief of the REM, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), along with the mission’s clerics, performed a moleben service “In Time of Devastating Epidemic and Death-bearing Pestilence” at St Mary Magdalene Church in Gethsemane, while other clergymen did likewise at Ascension of the Lord Church on the Mt of Olives.
With the aim of containing the spread of the virus, Israeli and Palestinian authorities canceled all pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Despite the ebbing number of pilgrims, the convents in Gethsemane and the Mt of Olives remained open to all who wished to pray in their churches.
The Lord teaches us to be welcoming and ready to aid all those in need: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). During this Great Lent, all believers must have the opportunity to attend church. Illnesses are sent to us for our correction, and the greatest basis for healing is prayer and repentance.
The mission encourages everyone to pray for personal correction in hopes that the Lord does not deprive us of His mercy and will protect us, just as He had pity upon the people of the Old Testament’s Nineveh following their genuine repentance according to the Book of Prophet Job.