ROC cleric: If infections spread through the Chalice, priests would vanish

Holy Communion. Illustrative photo: molitvy.online

The former doctor and now priest of the Russian Orthodox Church is sure that if one could get infected through the Eucharist, it'd certainly happen to all priests.

If infections were transmitted through the Chalice, the priests would simply disappear as a biological species under the influence of an infection. Priest Alexei Timakov, rector of the church of St. Nicholas at the Center for Combating Tuberculosis (CCT) and the church of St. Nicholas at the Holy Transfiguration cemetery in Moscow, who had previously worked for 18 years as a resuscitator, said this in a commentary to Pravmir.

The clergyman noted that at the CCT’s church, patients and former patients, as well as medical staff and people at the end of the service confess and "whoever wants to receive the Holy Communion comes to the liturgy."

“I’m not asking people for their medical certificates, I’m not interested in what form of disease they have: everyone approaches the Communion cup in an order which they themselves line up,” he said. <...> After the believers come to the cross, I consume everything that remains in the Chalice at the altar. Sometimes they call me to an intensive care unit. Again, what kind of tuberculosis a person in need of the Holy Gifts has, active or latent, does not interest me. I bring the Holy Gifts to them – that's the point. If there is something left in a Cup, I take it to the altar and also consume everything. The same concerns children with whatever tuberculosis they might have.”

According to Father Alexander, being a professional doctor who has worked as an emergency resuscitator for 18 years, he understands well what viral and infectious diseases are and how they are transmitted.

“If it were possible to catch an infection through the Holy Gifts, then I would definitely be infected and not only me,” he emphasized. “Can you imagine how many people come to worship in a temple in a residential area? Say, in the 70-80s, when there were few temples, they were overcrowded. In those days, when my father had ministry in the church of St. Nicholas in Kuznets, there were up to 1,500 oblationaries there during Great Lent. Just picture two or three priests with Communion cups, each of them having to give the Holy Gifts to about 450-550 parishioners. And then all that remains is consumed by deacons and priests. I’m not even speaking about the number of celebrants at the patriarchal services! I’m sure that among those who come to the temple, there are some who are sick with any infection, but they still partake of the Eucharist! And then priests and deacons, without any embarrassment, consume everything, and I don’t remember anyone who would get sick afterwards. For me, this is just evidence that there, in the Chalice, is the Body and Blood of Christ.”

The clergyman recalled that priests have stood with the Chalice for 1700 years "in any adversity, in any disease."

“If infections were transmitted through the Chalice, the priests would simply disappear as a biological species under the influence of infection. The fact that they remained healthy and did not die can be explained as a miracle, nothing else, given all skepticism and certain cynicism that are inherent in probably all doctors, including me. Life is in the Chalice,” concluded the priest.

As reported by the UOJ, previously an Orthodox physician from the USA called the assumptions of probable coronavirus transmission through the Eucharist as blasphemous.

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