Bulgarien: Church following sanitary requirements but won’t close churches

While the state authorities have imposed a quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Orthodox Church in Bulgaria will not close its churches or change its services, His Holiness Patriarch Neofit announced during a recent meeting with state representatives. Supporting the state’s efforts to battle the spread of the coronavirus, the Bulgarian Holy Synod has called on its faithful to pray from home, but at the same time, the churches will remain open for prayer, the Lenten services will continue to be celebrated in them, and the Church’s practice of communing the faithful will remain unchanged, reports the official site of the Bulgarian Patriarchate.

Patients who cannot go to church can call upon the clergy to bring them Holy Communion, according to the well-established practice of the Church. The Church has also established sanitary guidelines, including the frequent cleaning and disinfecting of churches, church employees using personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, disinfectants), lay people using protective masks and observing a regulated distance from one another, and priests who have the slightest sign of sickness remaining home.

Baptisms and Weddings should be celebrated with a limited number of people, and funerals should be celebrated outdoors in the presence of only the closest relatives. The Synod also calls upon the clergy and “God-protected flock” to strengthen their Lenten discipline in repentance, fasting, prayer, vigil, confession, and receiving Holy Communion. Lastly, the Holy Synod expresses its gratitude and prayers for the authorities, medical personnel, and all civil servants who put their lives at risk in order to preserve daily life within the possible limits. (Quelle: www.orthochristian.com, 31. März 2020)

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