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8 Oct, 2020 20:00

73-year-old Russian Church leader Patriarch Kirill to self-isolate after coming into contact with person infected by coronavirus

73-year-old Russian Church leader Patriarch Kirill to self-isolate after coming into contact with person infected by coronavirus

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has gone into quarantine after coming into contact with a person infected by Covid-19. Patriarch Kirill is 73 years-old, putting him in an at-risk group, and so must take extra precautions.

Kirill's decision to self-isolate was announced by Vladimir Legoyda, the head of the church's media department, on his Telegram channel. There was no mention of any symptoms.

"His Holiness Patriarch Kirill had contact with a person infected with a coronavirus infection," the message reads. "The Primate of The Russian Church is in good health, feels well, and continues to work remotely."

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According to Legoyda, Kirill's self-isolation is an "example of a responsible attitude and concern for the safety of others." The Patriarch has been broadly supportive of Russia's Covid-19 restrictions and has criticized clergy members for their non-compliance with government guidelines. In April, he warned priests that breaking the rules would result in them being tried before a church tribunal.

Patriarch Kirill was due to visit the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important monastery and the Russian Orthodox Church's spiritual home. Located in Sergiyev Posad, a city close to Moscow, the monastery was founded in 1337.

At age 73, Patriarch Kirill is at a higher risk of fatal consequences from Covid-19 than the average person. With Covid-19 numbers in Russia increasing at an alarming rate, more measures are being implemented to stem the virus's spread. In Moscow, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin ordered all workers over 65 to be sent home to work remotely.

Last month, Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church tested positive for Covid-19. Earlier in the year, Filaret made international headlines when he blamed coronavirus on gay marriage, calling the epidemic "God's punishment for the sins of men."

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