Russian Orthodox react to Coronovirus: “the Bloodless Sacrifice can in no way be canceled”

The Russian Orthodox Church is making changes to how their people receive Communion. HERE

NB: They are not cancelling their Divine Liturgy. They are not cancelling Communion.  My emphases.

Instructions to Rectors and their Parishes, and to Abbots and Abbesses of Monasteries of the Moscow Diocese in Connection with the Threat of the Spread of Coronavirus Infection
This document was approved by His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.

For the sake of pastoral care of people, as well as in response to a request from health officials, while maintaining a firm faith in the good work of God and in Divine omnipotence, the following rules are adopted, taking into account the canonical and liturgical Tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Until the epidemiological situation changes for the better and relevant instructions are received from the diocesan administration on the complete or partial termination of this instruction in the parishes and in the Patriarchal, bishop’s, and monastery churches, as well as in the monasteries of the Moscow diocese, the following must be performed:
Concerning the Communion of the Holy Mysteries of Christ

1. We should bear in mind that the Bloodless Sacrifice can in no way be canceled, because where there is no Eucharist, there is no church life, and also because the Holy Body and Blood of Christ are given for the health of both soul and body (see. , for example, the 7th and 9th prayers from the Canon before Holy Communion by St. John Chrysostom). At the same time, we must take into account the historical practice of the Orthodox Church in epidemics – to wipe the spoon used for Holy Communion with a cloth that is periodically soaked in alcohol, and then to dip the cloth in water and subsequently dispose of the water according to the practice provided for washing the cloths.

2. To give out the drink after Communion individually for each communicant in disposable cups.

3. Use disposable hygiene gloves to distribute the antidoron.

4. Cloths for the communion of the laity should be used only to protect the Holy Mysteries from possibly falling on the floor and to wipe the spoon. To wipe the communicants’ lips individually, use paper towels and burn them afterwards. Boil and wash the communion cloths with due reverence after each liturgical use.

5. Communicants should refrain from kissing the Chalice.


It goes on with instructions about Baptism and Anointing and other aspects, kissing Crosses, icons, etc.

I noted this:

11. Priests are advised to refrain from giving their hands to be kissed.


We should bear in mind that the Bloodless Sacrifice can in no way be canceled, because where there is no Eucharist, there is no church life, and also because the Holy Body and Blood of Christ are given for the health of both soul and body….

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  1. JPaulZ says:

    Russian Catholics know very well how to operate in a secular society, with directives from that society. They have lived under communist rule for the better part of a century. We can trust these people for creative solutions to societal pressure.

  2. Mike says:

    The Bloodless Sacrifice can in no way be canceled. By contrast, our Vatican 2 bishops can’t cancel table fellowship fast enough.

  3. Mornac2 says:

    I have a proposal for the Roman Church. First, say we stipulate to the bishop’s wish that no one receive Communion in the context of Mass. In return, the Bishop’s require that all clergy train themselves to offer the Mass in its regular form (what some refer to as the extraordinary form) during the remainder of this week. I have been to Low Masses without a sermon that have lasted no more than 20 – 25 mins. (I’ve even heard of Masses offered on battlefields in less than 15 minutes). The Bishops could then mandate – in the interest of the spiritual well-being of their flocks in this peculiar moment – that each pastor schedule anywhere from one to four Low Masses on Sundays depending on the size of his parish. The priest in this setting, is a safe distance from any infection. He would only require one, asymptomatic altar server to assist him and there would be none of the germy touching, hugging, and hand-holding prevalent in the contemporary form (what some refer to as the ordinary form) and the people would spend only a brief time in their already sparsely populated churches. A priest could always post his sermon online where everyone who desired could view it from wherever it is that they’re isolating themselves. This could even be seen as an example of “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite [being] mutually enrich[ed]” envisioned by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

  4. Fr_Andrew says:

    As to Mornac’s suggestion, I’ll make the comment that the old moral manualists would generally agree that a Mass said in under 20 minutes would almost certainly constitute a grave sin of irreverence on the part of the priest.

    Rushing Mass is a sin. So is dragging it out since it’s not the priest’s private prayer. The priest who trained me said the “sweet spot” was 30 minutes from Amice on to Amice off for a private Mass. He then told me it would take a year or two to get there. It did. And it’s not by rushing anything. In fact, I’m fairly slow in reciting texts, but I don’t waste even a second during the actions or movements or prayers.

    I can’t see how 15 minutes is possible without slurring words turning genuflections into acrobatics and grave irreverence.

  5. Ellen says:

    Father Steve Grunow from Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire Institute is streaming the Mass every day at 7:15 am central time. It takes him about 25 minutes. It’s on youtube if you want to see. Very reverent and even communion on the tongue to the reader.

  6. Matthew78 says:

    Begs the question: can we attend, in clear conscience, Divine Liturgy at the local Orthodox church this Sunday if our diocese has suspended Mass?

  7. Lynn Diane says:

    Priests could celebrate Mass outdoors, weather permitting. It’s very difficult to infect people outdoors plus the sun acts as a disinfectant, and the wind blows away viruses. Indoors people breathe each others exhaled air and viruses. If the heat is on, it may dry up our respiratory mucus, which is a protection against viruses. The army stops respiratory epidemics by sending the soldiers outside.

  8. ordovirginum says:

    Years ago I had the chance to be at a Ukrainian Catholic mass. We were instructed to receive Holy Communion by putting our heads back and opening our mouths like baby birds. The bishop spooned the Precious Body, soaked in the Precious Blood in the chalice, and dropped It into our mouths. The spoon did not touch the mouth.

  9. jflare29 says:

    I must admit to being slightly puzzled by this. It’s true enough most of the faithful cannot attend a publicly offered Mass right now. …I haven’t heard anything which changed a priest’s obligation to offer Mass daily. True, I’d prefer to go in person to Mass, yet there are obvious reasons why that’s not a good idea right now. We have at least three resources available for watching Mass online. …Current matters don’t need to be a source of panic.

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