Bulgaria: Patriarchal Encyclical on Covid 19

On 11th March 2020 His Holiness Patriarch Neophit sent Encyclical on Covid 19 and the church life according to the situation

To their Eminences Metropolitans, members of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church:

Your Eminences,

Considering the epidemic situation in the country and having in mind the danger we are exposed to the virus of corona- COVID-19, in order to avoid the faithful to be infected I preventively provide the best possible staying in our churches,

We recommend:

1.   All the churches in your dioceses should be open and certain worships of Lent and prayers of supplication should be performed;

2.   Do not suspend any divine worship nor do not refuse any faithful who wants to take the Holy Communion with the Holy Body and Blood of Christ, for some fear of being infected by corona virus. Sacraments cannot be transmitters of any infection or illness, rather are they the remedy for the physical and mental health;

3.   The faithful who are ill and cannot visit a church and would like to take the Holy communion, should receive it with in advance prepared Holy Gifts, whereas priests should take certain measures while performing that;

4.   Every church visitor should be careful and responsible for the health of others;

5.   Disinfectants should be used and a perfect hygiene should be maintained. The church floors should be periodically cleaned with suitable detergents; icons wiped; carpets, rugs, etc should be cleaned regularly; chairs, benches and other sitting areas disinfected after a couple of hours;

6.   Put on wipes soaked in disinfectant at the entrances to the church, and they should be soggy during opening hours;

7.   Patients should avoid public worship but rather  offer prayers and kneeling at their home so that they do not become a conduit for infecting other faithful;

8.   Priest should offer prayers of supplication to God the Giver of everything who “punishes, grants mercy and allows illness for our curing and prudence” for curing and harmless predominance of this temptation;

9.   All the members of the church should do their spiritual feat in repentance, fasting, prayer, vigil, confession of sin, and union with the Body and Blood of Christ.

We recommend ourselves to your holy prayers and remain your Eminence’s  brother in Christ.

The chairman of the Holy Synod

sign. Neophit,

Patriarch of Bulgaria

Translated into English by Sanja Simic de Graaf