04/11/2020, 10.01
RUSSIA
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Easter for Catholics in a Moscow gripped by Coronavirus

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Moscow's mayor: "We're not even close to the peak" of infections. All celebrations take place in empty churches, streamed live. Msgr. Pezzi. "It is the time of narrow paths and personal encounter." Msgr. Clemens Pickel of Saratov is well and has tested negative to the virus. The Pilgrimage Year of the icon of Our Lady of Fatima of St. Petersburg as Mother of the Word.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Russia must increasingly deal with the spread of the coronavirus. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobjanin warned: "We are not even close to the peak; in fact, we are at the foot of the climbing curve: let there be no illusions".

Even President Vladimir Putin is forced to speak on television every day to partially deny what was said the day before. And after delegating the quarantine decisions to the governors, he reiterated that in any case it is the Kremlin that must dictate the line, and "we must be ready for any development of the situation".

Thus Russian Catholics celebrate sacred Easter functions in quarantine. In Moscow, the archbishop of the diocese of the Mother of God, Paolo Pezzi broadcasts the Easter triduum celebrations from the half-empty cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, along with various videos with reflections on the meaning of Easter in the "narrow paths" of the current unease.

In his Holy Thursday homily, recalling the words of Pope Francis to the Jesuits in Thailand, he reiterated that "our time is an era in which there are no easy ways and ready-made recipes, and we must open new paths; it is the time of narrow paths, and of personal encounters”.

In the diocese of St. Clement in Saratov, Bishop Clemens Pickel confirmed that he is well. Previously, news of his having been touched by the coronavirus had appeared on his Facebook site. In fact, the swab was negative. Masses are also streamed in his diocese in southern European Russia. In a message to the faithful, Msgr. Pickel "relieved faithful of the obligation to participate in liturgical functions", also citing the relative canons of the Code of Canon Law, but asking "priests and other leaders of the pastoral service to be available for their parishioners".

The diocese of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk, in the heart of Siberia, publishes the indications for daily readings and meditations to the faithful, as well as the solitary masses of Bishop Josif Werth from the cathedral, which bears the same title as the diocese.

The celebrations are broadcast via the Russian social channel Vkontakte ("In contact"), which notifies registered users of the start of each function. For Holy Saturday, the ancient homily is quoted, also mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 635): "Today on earth there is great silence, great silence and solitude ... God and His Son go to free from suffering Adam and Eve, who are in prison. "

In Irkutsk, near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia, the ordinary session of the Russian Bishops' Conference (photo 1) was held March 11-12, at which Archbishop Pezzi was elected as president. Bishop Kirill Klimovicz, a native of Kazakhstan, invited the faithful to "celebrate Easter with the family". He also streams the celebrations online from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a place of worship built after the end of communism to commemorate the heavenly protection of Mary for her people.

The Russian Bishops' Conference decided to ask the Mother of God to watch over the suffering of the faithful in these difficult days: the Pilgrimage Year of the Icon of Our Lady of Fatima of St. Petersburg as Mother of the Word was opened on March 25. The title is taken from the homilies of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, master of Latin Marian spirituality, which harmonizes well with the Byzantine forms of the icon (photo 2).

As the document from the bishops warns, “Closeness to Sacred Scripture must be renewed in our communities and parishes, as Pope Francis says: the relationship between the Risen Lord, the community of believers and Sacred Scripture is an indispensable part of our identity of Christians (Aperuit illis, 1) ".

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