Moscow, Jun 7 (efe-epa).- Russian Orthodox Christians celebrated Holy Trinity Day on Sunday amid restrictive measures issued by health authorities to contain the coronavirus outbreak which has already claimed almost 6,000 lives in the country.
Moscow temples, which were shuttered on 13 April, reopened on the eve of the Holy Trinity religious holiday when the faithful flocked to churches for the first time in months.
In addition to the obligatory use of face masks, changes to traditional orthodox customs have also been observed.
The faithful must keep a social distance and they cannot kiss icons nor the hands of the popes after confessing and receiving their blessing.
“The churches of Moscow have very clear and reasonable directions from the first vicar of the Patriarch Metropolitan Dionysius regarding how it is necessary to organize services in the current conditions,” Taas news quoted the chairman of the information commission of the Moscow City Diocese Priest Alexander Volkov as saying.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill officiated a religious ceremony at the Church of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky on the outskirts of Moscow and not as he usually does in the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius monastery complex in Sergiyev Posad, some 70 kilometers northeast of Moscow.
“This decision was made, given the planned June 22 the consecration of his Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill Cathedral in honor of Christ’s Resurrection — the main temple of the Russian Armed forces,” Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church and society and the media of the Moscow Patriarchate, Vladimir Legoyda, was quoted as saying by Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti.
According to official data, Russia has so far recorded 463,673 coronavirus infections and 5,859 deaths.
In the last two weeks, the daily increase in confirmed cases has stood at around 9,000 and the number of daily deaths has not dropped below 134, with a maximum of 232, registered on 29 May.
Moscow continues to be the main infection hotspot with 195,017 recorded cases and almost half of all deaths with 2,919. EFE-EPA