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Bless me father, for I may be DRUNK! Russian church will DOUBLE communion wine servings to kill coronavirus

Bless me father, for I may be DRUNK! Russian church will DOUBLE communion wine servings to kill coronavirus
The Russian Orthodox Church's response to the ever-changing Covid-19 situation has raised some eyebrows, but one new measure will undoubtedly receive a good reception from those partial to a tipple.

In what could only be described as an 'unorthodox' proposal, parishioners who wish to receive communion will be drinking a lot more wine than usual.

Speaking to radio station Moscow Talks, Archpriest Leonid Kalinin, a member of the Patriarchal Council for Culture, said that Moscow churchgoers would be receiving double the usual volume of the holy sacrament when attending one of the capital’s churches.

“According to specialist virologists, the alcohol content in the sacrament [...] is high enough to kill these viruses. This is unambiguous. Therefore, in principle, the sacrament itself cannot be a source of infection with a sufficient amount of [alcohol],” he said.

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He added that parishioners were now forbidden to kiss crosses and icons, and wine for communion would be bottled in disposable vessels.

Fr. Kalinin also clarified that icons have always been treated with antiseptic agents, and such preventive measures are sufficient, in his view. Last month, the World Health Organization asked believers to stop kissing icons due to the thread of Covid-19.

On Tuesday, the leader of the Russian church Patriarch Kirill approved a wide range of new guidelines for worship and sacrament, all of which are to remain in place until the epidemiological situation improves. According to the Moscow Patriarchate's own website, “the rules have been drawn up, taking into account the canonical and liturgical tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church.” Measures include using disposable dishes, hygiene gloves, and suspending Sunday schools.

The document also indicates the need for clergy to pay attention to personal health. “If you feel unwell, immediately inform the rector and seek medical help,” it says.

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