On May 13, 2020, Rt. Rev. Ivan Laptev, Bishop of The Church of Ingria, and Rev. Deans Pavel Krylov (West Ingrian Deanery), Aleksei Kronholm (Karelian Deanery), Valeri Antipov (Moscow Deanery), Ivan Hutter (St. Petersburg Deanery), Konstantin Subbotin (Uralic Deanery) held an online conference in VK group Sluzhiteli Tserkvi Ingrii (“Ministers of The Church of Ingria”), speaking about the situation in the regions and answering questions.
As restrictions continue to be in force in St. Petersburg until May 31, worship services are only held online. As for the Leningrad Oblast, the region around the city, it is fine to start to resume normal worship, based on the local situation however (for example, the church in Skvoritsy is located in a cemetery which is marked off with barricade tapes and has information boards at the gates prohibiting entry). As there are no restrictions in the Tver Oblast, it is fine to attend worship freely. The Uralic Deanery has six regions, each in their own situation, but for the most part public events are still prohibited until further notice. Karelia is also waiting for new orders from the regional authorities.
Bishop Laptev: “It’s important to keep a healthy balance: we need to take reasonable precautions (keep a distance, disinfect surfaces), but at the same time people need to be given an opportunity to live a spiritual life. We ask people aged over 65, those who are in the risk group, and those who are concerned about their health for other reasons or have ARVI symptoms, to stay home. Holy Communion is currently administered by intinction. We need to continue to live-stream worship services for those who can’t attend church.”
In the near future, all senior pastors of the congregations are going to receive a sample Safe Work Standard. The document will need to be adapted to the local satiation, signed, published in the congregational media, and a printed copy of it should be displayed in a visible place.
The Synodal Council meeting which will be held on May 22 will consider a proposal to cancel congregational contributions to the Central Office this year because of the difficult financial situation in the congregations.
By Darya Shkurlyatyeva, ELCIR Press Service