Russian Christians have celebrated Christmas Eve Mass this Wednesday, according to the Julian calendar that the Orthodox Church follows, and also according to the new normal with masks and social distance.
“The authorities that control the situation of COVID-19 have considered that churches are not dangerous areas, because here we respect precautionary measures much better than in public transport or in stores. Social distance is respected and people carry masks. “
Justifies the rector of the Santa Mártir Tatiana chapel, located a few meters from the Kremlin, in Moscow.
The hundreds of faithful who have come to this chapel wear special masks and the ground is marked to maintain social distance.
All of them feel safe as stated by Daliil Sidorov, a parishioner.
“The risk of contamination is no greater than in a store. We still remember Easter when the churches were closed and it was very hard for us.”
For Elena, faith is stronger than everything.
“You come here and you feel protected, let’s hope the higher powers protect us.”
“Those who do not believe in COVID-19, do not believe in God”
The Russian Orthodox Church strongly advised older faithful and those at risk to stay home and watch Christmas Masses on television.
His position was very strong, as highlighted by our correspondent Galina Polonskaya.
“The head of the Russian Orthodox Church urged his co-religionists to respect all sanitary measures and equated those who do not believe in COVID-19 with those who do not believe in God.”
Vladimir Putin, at mass without a mask
Vladimir Putin attended the mass of the Rooster on Wednesday night in a small 13th century chapel in the Veliky Novgorod region; the Russian president, who has not yet been vaccinated against COVID, was not wearing a mask.
And this Thursday he congratulated his compatriots on Orthodox Christmas, the most important religious holiday in this country.
Putin, who admitted to being baptized in 1952 secretly from his communist father, called on believers to pray in the hope that God would make his wishes come true.
That faith in the miracle “is the star that sustains us in the most difficult stages,” Putin declared.
That faith in the miracle “is the star that illuminates our vital path and that sustains us in the most difficult stages,” he said after attending the ecclesiastical service at the Church of San Nicolás de Lipno, located on the island of the same name, in the Lake Ilmen, and which he presented with an icon of the Almighty Lord.
The head of the Kremlin has a tradition of receiving Christmas every year in a different place and this time he chose this church of St. Nicholas which was the first stone temple to be erected in Russia after the Mongol invasion, specifically in 1292. It was destroyed during World War II and restored in 1956.
As usual, Putin had words of support for the Russian Orthodox Church, which he praised for fostering interreligious dialogue and promoting family values.
The Christmas holidays in Russia began on December 31 and will end on January 10, although believers will still celebrate the Epiphany in mid-January, which commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ with the traditional baths in the icy waters of ponds, lakes and rivers.
More than 70% of the inhabitants of this country consider themselves Orthodox, but the number of practitioners is much lower. According to polls, half of Russians do not believe in God, but consider being Orthodox synonymous with being Russian.