Representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed gratitude to the Russian Orthodox Church for helping people in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
During his meeting with the chairman of the Synodal Department for Charity, Bishop Panteleimon of Vereya, Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, expressed gratitude to the Russian Church on behalf of WHO, reports the website of the Synodal Department.
“Let me express our deep gratitude to you and thank His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and you personally for the role the Russian Orthodox Church has during the pandemic, providing spiritual support and alleviating the suffering of people in this very difficult time,” Hans Kluge said .
The WHO Regional Director for Europe also thanked Vladyka Panteleimon “for his work in creating special groups of clerics who provide spiritual support and guidance to patients with COVID-19 during their illness, thereby protecting people from the loneliness caused by the lack of contact with their families and their loved ones.”
“I am very grateful for the pastoral assistance that you and the Russian Orthodox Church provide, helping to find consolation not only for patients, but also for medical personnel,” added Hans Kluge.
Melita Vujnovich, representative of the World Health Organization in the Russian Federation, also noted the importance of spiritual support during the meeting.
“The World Health Organization has long been concerned with the spiritual health of people. But it seems to me that now, during the pandemic, this has become the main point, because human health is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual health. Therefore, your support during this period is very important,” she said.
In his turn, Vladyka Panteleimon thanked the WHO representatives “for understanding the importance of the role of the Church and priests in this difficult time.”
During the meeting, Natalya Shakuro, Head of the Hospital Ministry of the Synodal Charity Department, told the WHO representatives about the help of volunteers in the “red zones” of hospitals, stressing that volunteers “help to defuse the situation and add joy, … bring with them vitality, a desire to help and comfort”.