UOC Hierarch: Live broadcast can never replace Confession and Communion
Live streaming is not worship. Our God is alive, not “God online”, so one cannot substitute the Eucharist or Confession by viewing a broadcast, said Met. Clement.
On April 11, 2020, the Head of the Information and Education Department of the UOC, Metropolitan Clement of Nizhyn and Pryluky, explained that online broadcasting cannot substitute worship, and it cannot replace the Holy Communion or Confession Sacraments. He said this in an interview with Radio Svoboda.
Answering the journalist’s question whether services will be held by the UOC in the presence of believers or they will be replaced by online broadcasts, Metropolitan Clement emphasized, “Of course, the services will be held. The president said they would not be canceled.”
Speaking about online broadcasts, he noted, “Online broadcasting is not worship. We have God – living God, not "online God". Therefore, one can never replace the Communion or Confession with an online broadcast. It will be wrong and people will not understand us.”
When asked why the UOC did not heed the opinion of Patriarch Kirill, who urged parishioners not to come to temples, Metropolitan Clement replied that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is guided by the position of its Primate.
“We have His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, whose instructions determine all the circumstances of our lives,” said Met. Clement.
Explaining how Easter will be celebrated, the hierarch said, “In accordance with the Holy Synod's decision, we, similarly to all other faiths, will hold services in the upcoming days, but we urge all people to adhere to those standards that are determined by quarantine."
He added that no more than 10 people can be in the temple. The Sacraments of Eucharist and Confession, according to the hierarch, will be held unchanged.
When asked by the news presenter whether the UOC wants to follow the example of the Pope, who serves alone today in St. Peter's Square, the metropolitan answered in the negative and emphasized that since the Ukrainian authorities allow worship services, the Church does not mind the presence of parishioners.
According to the hierarch, since the authorities did not prohibit divine services, they will be held. He cited the example of Bulgaria, where during the quarantine period services are also held, and temples are not closed. “This is some kind of stereotype that the temple is a nursery-garden of infections,” he added.
Metropolitan Clement emphasized that the temple is a place where people who fail to receive help “can receive healing and Divine help. Therefore, it is a crime to close temples and try to remould them. In Ukraine, we have a lot of miraculous icons that healed believers during epidemics and difficult everyday circumstances.”
As reported by the UOJ, the Primate of the UOC had blessed all dioceses to participate in the control of the pandemic.