Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on Sunday expressed his view that there is no danger of becoming infected by the coronavirus from receiving Holy Communion.
The Patriarch was officiating a Divine Liturgy at the Athonite St Panteleimon’s monastery in Galatas, Constantinople, when he congratulated the faithful for partaking in the sacrament.
“You already know that there has been a debate lately about Holy Communion,” the Patriarch began in his sermon.
“We firmly believe that there is no danger of contracting the coronavirus in receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord. That is why we, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, have not changed the way Holy Communion is being offered.”
Bartholomew also addressed the faithful of Russian descent who, despite the decisions of the Russian Orthodox Church to sever full Communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, came to participate in the celebrations for St Panteleimon.
“To honor the memory of St Panteleimon, who is a great doctor, and today, as we are going through a difficult period with the pandemic, we need Agios Panteleimon and all the Holy Anargyros doctors much more than ever. We ask St. Panteleimon to protect us from the dangers of COVID-19, the coronavirus,” he said.
The Russian Orthodox Church has, to this day, been the only church to follow its own path, introducing the use of different spoons, which would be disinfected with alcohol before and after the offering of Holy Communion to each of the faithful.