2021-12-21 00:00:00

Public division over Covid-19 no less dangerous than virus itself - Russian Orthodox Church

Moscow, December 21, Interfax - Public division over Covid-19 is no less dangerous than the coronavirus pandemic, in the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"The division is no less dangerous than the virus itself. The pandemic has dealt a blow to social relations. Even families are sometimes divided into vaccination supporters and opponents," head of the Russian Orthodox Church's Synodal Department for Church, Society and Media Relations Vladimir Legoyda said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper.

The Church has a peacemaking mission, "that is, to tell society and the state that we are together, we are one family. We will not treat anyone as second-class citizens but will try to keep peace, understanding and respect for everyone," Legoyda said.

The pandemic has helped understand what is primary and what is secondary in Church life, Legoyda said.

"When the first wave hit and we had to limit access of the laity to churches and churches were sanitized (icons and spoons were wiped clean after communion, etc.), many felt embarrassed. But, in the end, it became clear what true faithfulness to Christ and the Gospel is. Do you betray Christ by putting on a mask and following other guidelines from experts? True, you should not be afraid of death, but you should not run to it, either, while putting other people at risk. And so on, and so forth," Legoyda said.

Legoyda admitted that the Church had experienced difficulties with fighting the pandemic. "It would be naive and untrue to say that we rapidly found our way and understood everything, this is not so. Still, I would say that the Church is worthily responding to the challenge," he said.