UOC hierarch: Coronavirus hype can damage Church and society
During the quarantine period, church people should not fall into extremes but adhere to the Primate’s reasonable and balanced blessings, noted Archbishop Theodosius.
In the context of the coronavirus, some public people, including church people, vibrate confrontation polemic, which causes some tension in the church environment. The vicar of the Kiev Metropolitan, Archbishop Theodosius (Snegirev) told about this in an interview with 1Kozak, urging everybody to adhere to the balanced decisions of the UOC Synod regarding the life of the Church under quarantine.
The hierarch emphasized that any test can result in both benefit and harm to the faithful and society; in particular, “the Tomos really did good to the church community and our Ukrainian Orthodox Church – it consolidated us in truth in the face of spiritual danger, put us shoulder to shoulder, both the clergy and laity."
Regarding the coronavirus tribulation, he noted it’s hard to say for sure whether the pandemic will bring harm or benefit.
“The polemic of the confrontation that sometimes now arises between representatives of different points of view on how to live under quarantine causes some tension in church society,” said Abp. Theodosius. “I don’t want to believe that tension will do harm, I want to believe that truth will be born and a solution found in a dispute. But, unfortunately, at least according to my observations, some public people, including church people, are trying to hype on our common problem.”
He explained that now, despite the decisions of the Holy Synod of UOC on the rules of worship during the quarantine period, some are trying to show themselves as “zealots of piety,” claiming that they will in no way change anything, and this is “wrong, proud, misleading position".
“Some people are trying to make themselves a name of a zealous person on this, earn cheap popularity, in contrast to them liberal members of the Church, including public ones among their sector of church believers, also try to earn the same popularity: “Now, look at these so-called ‘zealots’, look at what they are pushing you to – virus, death, infection, you must first think about how to maintain your own health, the health of our citizens; nothing disastrous will happen if the temples are closed, if we don’t receive the Holy Communion." Such voices in the public sphere are heard from people who call themselves Orthodox, including Orthodox preachers,” the hierarch added.
In his opinion, both of these extremes are wrong primarily because neither of them “is born out of motives of love or out of motives to protect and suffer for one’s faithful, but out of ambitions to become public, famous and earn popularity on the tribulation. And if such opposing opinions clash and involve some followers, it can hamper the Church to some extent.”
“Therefore, one needs to listen to the Synod, His Holiness the Patriarch and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry,” emphasized Archbishop Theodosius. “All their blessings are balanced, reasonable, middle ground, they comply with pastoral expediency, quarantine requirements, and sanitary norms. In this middle ground, in this way you won’t earn popularity, but you will observe church canons.”
As reported by the UOJ, Archbishop Theodosius of Boyarka provided practical guidelines on conduct during the pandemic.