The Romanian Orthodox Church Wednesday reached an agreement with the Ministry of Internal Affairs to allow church volunteers to distribute consecrated bread (Paști) and Holy Fire to believers on Easter night.
The first form of the agreement signed on Tuesday was later amended by the two parts as epidemiologists expect the coronavirus pandemic to reach the peak in terms of infected persons in the second half of April in Romania.
AGREEMENT: full text
Given the recent estimates of the specialists regarding the spread of the pandemic over the next two weeks, to increase the measures to prevent infection with the new coronavirus, the Agreement signed by the Romanian Patriarchate and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, on April 14, 2020, is amended as follows:
1. The religious services on Easter night will be officiated in compliance with the guidelines of the Romanian Orthodox Church and the provisions of the military ordinances regarding public meetings and social distancing, without the participation of believers in the precinct, the courtyard or the proximity of the places of worship.
2. The blessed bread – small prosphora – sprinkled with holy water and wine, called Paști, which will be consecrated this year on Maundy Thursday, April 16, after the Divine Liturgy, will be distributed to believers on Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18, between 8.00 am and 17.00 pm, by church personnel and volunteers, at the believers’ request.
3. The distribution of the Holy Fire will be ensured by clergy and a maximum of five volunteers on Saturday evening, April 18, 2020, starting at 20.00.
4. Parish clergy with the help of a maximum of five volunteers wearing protection equipment (mask and gloves), as organizers, will ensure the distribution of the consecrated Easter bread and the Holy Fire, in compliance with regulations stipulated in the Military Ordinances. They will wear a white armband as a distinguishing mark. Besides, they have to carry identity cards and name tags with their parish’s stamp.
5. Believers will receive the consecrated Easter bread or the Holy Fire from the threshold of their house or the window, without going out. In areas with multifamily housing, the blessed bread and Holy Fire will be handed over to a representative designated by the Homeowners Association, who will wear protective equipment (mask and gloves).
6. In hospitals where there is no chaplain (priest), the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on duty on Easter night will distribute the Holy Fire to these units, as well as to social centres and quarantine centres.
The structures coordinated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Police, Border Police, Gendarmerie, Firefighters, Local Police and the personnel of the Ministry of National Defense) will ensure public order throughout the distribution of the blessed bread and the Holy Fire, as well as the compliance with the regulations stipulated in the military ordinances to prevent the risk of spreading the new coronavirus.
Patriarch of Romania
|Ministry of Internal Affairs
Ion – Marcel VELA
Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro
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