March 11, 2020


Metropolitan Dymytry Rudiuk of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, issued an announcement on his Facebook page regarding the concern about the possible transfer of the coronavirus through the reception of Holy Communion. The prominent hierarch in the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and pastor of the Lviv-Sokal Archeparchy of his Church, issued a statement which combines known facts about the virus and pastoral prudence.

His statement reads in part, "Over the last days, much information has been disseminated as to how the Faithful should conduct themselves in Church during liturgies and, in particular, about Communion of the Sacred Mysteries of Christ in this hour of fierce trial with the spread of the coronavirus. I caution you from all kinds of disrespect that can be exhibited toward the awesome life-giving Body and Blood of the Lord, which is distributed from the Holy Chalice, and from various concocted methods for Communion that contradict the traditional forms of Communion in the Orthodox Church, or from some sort of limiting of communicating the true Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This would be nothing other than disrespect, blasphemy and a lack of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and [faith] in His Honourable Body and Blood."

He goes on to explain that traditional communion, by which the Faithful receive Communion from one spoon does not facilitate the spread of the virus. He called for restraint from sowing panic among the people and not to concoct alternative methods for distributing Holy Communion.

To avoid unnecessary questions (or accusations), however, Metropolitan Dymytry added, "... I want to stress that we do not reject other medical advisories regarding cleanliness, hygiene and warnings regarding the spreading of the coronavirus, but we ask all the Faithful to adhere to them!" [Source 2]

His comments reiterate, in part, the caution made by the Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav on February 20th against undue panic regarding the virus.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav is issuing a pastoral statement which will be available in English soon.

The Archbishop of Winnipeg, His Grace Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak, who approved a general statement from the Chancery in a March 6th newsletter, is preparing Pastoral Directives on the matter that will be issued soon.


The concern over the coronavirus COVID-19 is growing as much in Ukraine as anywhere in the world. Although the closing of public institutions is far from the levels seen in Italy, for example, Ukraine has closed schools and has cancelled mass gatherings of people in many places. Ukraine, however, has only recently confirmed its first case of an individual infected by the virus.

Ukraine's ministry of Heath has been praised for its very thorough resources that it offers the people via its website and through public announcements. Some of the resources produced in collaboration with Red Cross Ukraine:

How to protect yourself from the Coronavirus (especially if you suspect that you may be infected)

How to deal with COVID-19

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