UOC hierarch suggests the idea of organizing consecration of Easter baskets
Metropolitan Luke sent his proposals to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and chief medical officer Viktor Liashko.
Metropolitan Luke of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol (Kovalenko), the head of the Zaporizhzhia Eparchy of the UOC, addressed the authorities with proposals regarding the organization of the consecration of Easter offerings of believers under the quarantine introduced in Ukraine due to the coronavirus. The UOC hierarch published the text of the appeal on his Telegram channel.
According to the bishop, the Church is not an institution of power coercion and cannot prohibit believers to attend services during Easter holidays, and during the quarantine period the clergy "call on the parishioners to be responsible not only for their life and health but also for the life and health of their relatives, friends and surrounding people”. In turn, he stressed that in order to avoid crowding in the temples during the holidays, the clergy of the eparchy "will perform church services in accordance with the requirements established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine for this period”.
"During the day when the service is not performed, the temples will be open for individual prayer but within the quarantine requirements. During the Easter events, we will be glad to receive help from the Assistance Group for Supervision of Law and Order and Сurrent Protocols of the Ministry of Health, which includes members of the National Police of Ukraine and other units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (and, if necessary, observers from the executive authorities and local authorities)," Metropolitan Luke added.
Due to the fact that some believers will still come to temples, the ruling bishop of the Zaporizhzhia Eparchy called on the authorities to consider a number of proposals for the organization of the consecration of Easter offerings under quarantine restrictions "and give them a sanitary assessment to avoid confrontation and social explosion in society”:
“1. The clergy prearrange locations for the stationary consecration of Easter baskets in places near the temple or in other permitted areas (prepare a table, a vessel with holy water and everything else that is necessary for the consecration). The locations are marked with special signs /the place of consecration/. People walk one by one at a sanitary distance from the place, while the priest sprinkles their baskets with holy water. The responsible persons appointed from among the parishioners will assist the group in pacing the movement of believers, monitor the sanitary distance between them and provide access to the location.
2. Allow the private sector in cities to consecrate Easter baskets as in rural areas.
3. 3. By agreement with the chairpersons of OSMDs (Housing cooperatives), people display their offerings at a pre-arranged place and stay at home. At a certain time, a priest comes and consecrates the cakes, then people take them home.
4. Take into account the experience of U.S. Catholic priests based on the "McDrive" principle – locations for stationary consecration are arranged on the highway in the wider part of the road, to which a car with an open window, through which the priest consecrates Easter offerings, comes.
All persons who will be involved in the celebrations must be previously informed about the compliance with the requirements established by the government and warned about legal liability in case of their violation," Metropolitan Luke of Zaporizhzhia and Melitopol, PhD in Medicine, put forward his proposals.
As reported earlier, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations suggested the authorities ways to protect the rights of believers during the quarantine.