News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Coronavirus pandemic leaves Orthodox churches empty for Easter

by Press Association
orthodox church empty.jpg - Banner image
@BishopAngaelos Twitter

Orthodox priests have held Easter services in churches empty of parishioners because of restrictions imposed to block the spread of coronavirus.

Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos told Premier all their Holy Week services were live streamed. A priest and a deacon led services from their parish. 

Services in Moscow, St Petersburg and Kyiv were among those to be broadcast online or on TV as Orthodoxy’s most important holy day was celebrated at a distance.

Police were deployed outside hundreds of churches in Ukraine to ensure that anyone who came to stand outside a service observed regulations calling for social distancing and banning large gatherings.

A small exception was made at the Pechersk monastery in Kyiv, where police allowed worshippers to enter the church one at a time, with the next person going inside when another left.

The monastery, a major tourist attraction because of its extensive system of caves and catacombs, was closed under quarantine, and more than 90 of its monks have been identified as infected with Covid-19.

Two of them have died after contracting the illness.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, some churches were open to worshippers, but only if they committed themselves to arriving before the country’s 9pm curfew started and remaining there until the curfew lifts at 6am.

About 100 people showed up to do that the Holy Trinity Cathedral in the capital Tbilisi, where marks were placed on the floor so that people would observe distancing.

Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill led the church’s main service at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

In an Easter epistle, he called on his flock not to be discouraged by being unable to attend services.

“We Orthodox Christians should not lose heart or despair in these difficult circumstances, let alone panic. We are called upon to preserve the inner world,” he said.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £8 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £8 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate