In the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra, there are no recorded cases of the coronavirus infection and divine services are performed in accordance with the Statute. This is stated in the address of the brotherhood and Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev, the abbot of the monastery, to the believers and representatives of the media, published on the website of the Pochaev Lavra.
“In these days of the Holy Great Lent, when the Holy Church calls us to special repentant labours, our God-loving people, as well as the entire population of our country, have suffered a trial,” the address says. “In connection with the spread of the coronavirus infection, the WHO announced a pandemic of the Covid19 virus, Ukraine introduced enhanced preventive measures, quarantine, and in some areas, including Ternopil, declared a regime of an emergency situation”.
The monks stressed that “we, as people of faith, accept this trial as given to us from the hand of God, do not seek a guilty party, but in the humility of heart we repent to the Lord and ask for mercy for the whole world”.
“We understand that because of restrictive measures, many of you will not be able to visit your beloved Pochaev Laura at this Great Lent. But it is not in our power to change anything,” the monastery brotherhood said. “We can only pray in the place where each of us is and support one another both in word and deed during this trial. In such situations, the Lord gives us a special opportunity to show our Christian compassion, mercy, courage and big heart”.
As for the reports about four pilgrims from Moldova who allegedly visited the Pochaev Lavra and returned home infected with coronavirus, the Ukrainian media that disseminated this information did not provide any official source to confirm it.
“In our holy monastery the divine services are performed in accordance with the Statute, no cases of the coronavirus infection have been recorded. <…> We remind the journalists who are in a hurry to disseminate such news without proper verification of such concepts as conscience and responsibility. Presenting news about religious life in this context will not discourage believers from attending divine services but rather increase discontent and distrust in the authorities as people will believe that it’s the government that is trying to influence people’s consciousness in such a way, preventing them from going to temples,” the address emphasizes.