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10 Mar, 2020 16:35

Coronavirus is WORK OF SATAN? Russian Cossacks ban kissing church icons & crosses to stop spread of Covid-19

Coronavirus is WORK OF SATAN? Russian Cossacks ban kissing church icons & crosses to stop spread of Covid-19

When seeking advice about dealing with a potential pandemic, the generally agreed best practice is to look to medical professionals and official announcements from the government.

However, in times of great worry, many also look to the church, and now one of Russia’s citizen groups with strong religious beliefs – the Cossacks – has issued its own instructions.

The Cossack Council of Atamans of Russia has banned the kissing of icons, crosses, and the hands of the clergy to prevent coronavirus infection, according to Gennady Kovalev, a council deputy.

“The order was officially sent to our organizations. It is forbidden to kiss icons, as well as everything related to touching objects of mass worship,” Kovalev told RIA Novosti. “It seems like we are fighting a virus that spreads by airborne droplets, through touch. Our task to give a warning that it is dangerous and contributes to the spread of infection.” However, Kovalev explained that the order is nonbinding.

The decision of the Council stated that “disease, viruses – anything that leads to destruction is the work of Satan,” and that the Cossacks, as “Christian soldiers,” are on “the front line in the fight against manifestations of the forces of Darkness.”

According to Kovalev, the order will be valid until the moment the threat of the spread of Covid-19 has ended. He also noted that they have asked Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, to check churches and clergy for the virus. “God forbid, somebody gets sick, then people will completely stop going to church,” Kovalev told Yekaterinburg news outlet ura.ru.

Last month, the World Health Organization warned that the tradition of kissing icons may pose a threat as coronavirus is transmitted by droplets, and can survive on various surfaces. The epidemic has already had an effect on religious traditions in Italy, with the Catholic Church opting to give communion bread into the hands of believers, rather than the mouth.

In Iran, one of the world’s most infected countries, some locals opted to undergo the exact opposite measure – licking their shrines for protection against coronavirus.

Covid-19 has now infected more than 114,000 people, and there have been over 4,000 deaths.

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