News story on Karelian TV in Finnish about church life under lockdown in Karelia
Based on a Russian translation by Darya Shkurlyatyeva
Last Sunday, many Christians including Lutherans celebrated Palm Sunday. The faithful spent the holiday at home as all pubic associations including religious ones had to close their doors to prevent the spread of coronavirus. What solution did the churches find in this situation?
The doors of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Petrozavodsk have been closed since March 27. This was the decision of Rev. Aleksei Kronholm, dean of the ELCIR Karelian Deanery. He announced this on the website of the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Petrozavodsk and its VK.com group.
Instead of going to church, the congregants are offered to pray together and read the Catechism. Daily morning prayer starts at 10:00, evening prayer starts at 21:00. On Sundays, distance worship services occur at their usual time, 14:00, in Russian. One can watch prayers and worship services online in the congregation’s VK.com group at the announced time. Prayer requests are received by phone or email.
Rev. Kronholm’s video address: “If some of you think it’s faintheartedness and lack of faith, it’s your right to think so. As senior pastor and dean of the Karelian Deanery, I have taken upon myself this responsibility. I’m acting by rational judgment and by faith. I believe that faith is not folly and fanaticism, it’s caring for one’s neighbor.”
Because of the coronavirus situation, Russian Orthodox congregations in Karelia, too, have been temporarily closed since April 2. Nevertheless, social workers in the Karelian diocese are ready to give encouragement to anyone who needs soulcare. This is done by phone. The phone numbers are available on the diocesan website.
Also because of coronavirus, an ancient Russian Orthodox tradition is seeing revival in Petrozavodsk – ringing the church bells at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. They ring the bells on the bell tower of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Petrozavodsk. Both the Orthodox and the Lutheran Churches are going through the period of Lent. Therefore, all pastors and priests remind that now that we stay at home it is important to focus on one’s soul and prepare for Easter, the holiday that witnesses to the victory of life over death.