“We pray for those who are ill, for those who are most vulnerable to this virus, and for health care workers, because they risk their lives for the safety and health of Ukrainian society,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the UGCC, responding to recent events related to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The UGCC Department for Information report.
In his comment for the UGCC Department for Information, the Primate states that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church will fulfill the orders of state and local authorities and sanitary services. At the same time, the Church authorities ask all citizens to be responsible for security measures while maintaining absolute peace.
“We have a duty to adhere to all the rules that follow from public authorities. In addition, we encourage older people and parents with young children to stay at home, as they are at highest risk.
At this time of Lent, let us pray more at home. It is possible to benefit from broadcasts of worship through the means of modern communication. We encourage priests to respond to the request of the faithful to give them the Sacraments of the Confession and Communion at home, especially when it comes to sick persons,” said the Head of the UGCC.
Regarding participation in worship services, His Beatitude Sviatoslav above all encourages everyone to follow the rules of personal hygiene in the temples. During this period, it may be justified not to touch or kiss the icons. In addition, “we require in our churches to strengthen anti-epidemic security measures so that our temples are always a clean and safe place for personal and community prayer.”
“We call for increased prayer, first and foremost for health. This prayer is heard constantly, but now let it be intensified. We pray for the health of everyone, including the elders and children – the weakest among us. We especially pray for those who are affected by the coronavirus,” asked His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
In addition, he warned against any stigma or any negative attitude towards those affected by the COVID-19 virus or those suspected of the disease. “No one intentionally wants to be ill with this disease. One may not even know that he or she is ill. No need to be prejudiced against your neighbor. For the Word of God and the commandment of love for one’s neighbor are valid even during the epidemic,” emphasized the Head of the UGCC.