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Russian Orthodox Priests Test Positive for Coronavirus

Although the Russian Orthodox Church has refused to shut its doors as the pandemic has spread within Russia, the Church has adopted sanitary measures in its services and eventually encouraged worshippers to pray from home.  Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

At least three Russian Orthodox priests in Moscow have contracted the coronavirus, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Sunday, citing the Church’s anti-coronavirus task force.

They are believed to be the first Russian Orthodox priests to be infected with the fast-spreading virus. Although the Russian Orthodox Church has refused to shut its doors as the pandemic has spread within Russia, the Church has adopted sanitary measures in its services and eventually encouraged worshippers to pray from home. 

Priest Nikolai Ryzhkov from the "Soothe my Sorrows" Church of the Icon of the Mother of God, priest Viktor Volkov from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and priest Georgiy Dekhtyarev from the Church of the Ascension of God have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Two other clergymen from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin — rector Georgiy Breyev and cleric Dmitry Karpov — are showing coronavirus symptoms, but their diagnosis hasn’t been confirmed, RIA Novosti cited the Church’s task force as saying.

The Church urged all who were in contact with these priests to self-isolate.

Russia confirmed a record 954 new cases on Monday, bringing the country's total to 6,343.

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