Photographs of Metropolitan Georgy of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamas, who was going to nourish the flock in the covid department of the Bor central regional hospital, aroused contradictory responses on social networks.
Among those who published one of the photos was blogger Leonid Sevastyanov, who had just recently had a coronavirus infection:
“I can judge by myself, the last thing a patient of a covid center wants is to see such a show! It's better not to confuse Christianity with a PR show!"
Journalist and expert on religious issues Sergey Chapnin also criticized this photo:
“I confess I don’t know how to relate to this. Even at first glance, there is something dishonest in this. Perhaps not that the bishop came to the red zone, but that he did not come alone, not with assistants, but with a photographer and a videographer ... Maybe such photographs should absolutely not be published?"
Hieromonk John responded even harder:
“Where have you seen bishops go to their flock before covid, and there were epidemics before too? So what has changed now? PR of pure water. Then why was he wearing that? If he is not afraid of covid with Christ? It just looks like the covid is scary to him. What about the fact that the left hand doesn't have to know what the right is doing? We constantly go to the sick, give communion, confess, why make a show out of this?"
And one of the readers found this act frivolous:
“There are priests who also work in hospitals. In France, one such priest just works in a hospital officially. But so many of the priesthood have died this year that there is no need for everyone to go to the covid hospitals. Let everyone do the job for which they are assigned. You can find orderlies, but you need to learn a priest, and life experience does not come immediately. And the priest dies - the parish is orphaned..."
However, not everyone was critical of this photo. So, the former priest Roman Zaitsev stood up for the metropolitan:
“When I worked as an orderly in a covid intensive care unit, two people asked for a priest, I confessed one of them, but they were forbidden to receive communion. By the way, both of these patients died, a woman of 50 and a man of 56..."
Priest Theodorite Sergei Senchukov responded even more definitely:
“This photo is circulating on Facebook and causing a seething of various foul-smelling substances.
Moreover, it would be okay with atheists. Everything about the Church is bad for them. Well, apart from swearing at Her, of course.
But for some reason it annoys many Orthodox too. Someone does not like the fact that the photographer is in the background - they say, PR; someone snorts that, they say, the bishops did not go to hospitals before, someone is indignant that in the PPE (Christ, they say, went to the lepers without PPE)...
And what, in fact, is depicted here?
A certain Vladyka (I write "a certain" because I really don't know which one) goes to the patients of the "red zone". Well, honor and praise to Vladyka. I was not afraid, went to the suffering flock. It is the bishop of the Church who is primarily called to be, according to the word of the apostle, "a model for the faithful in word, in life, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Tim. 4, 12). And didn't we read today: "And the flock will be one and the Shepherd one" (John 10:16)?
What is in PPE - so without PPE and the bishop will not be allowed. And wherever priests are still allowed into the “red zone”, they are forced to wear PPE. These are the sanitary requirements. Even I wear, although I have antibodies, and in general I do not see the need for Tyvecs. Thank God that Vladyka was given the opportunity not to hide the epitrachil and panagia - they (even if you believe in the transmission of the virus through surfaces) can be easily treated with disinfectants.
And earlier bishops came to hospitals to join their flock. Vaughn, Bishop Irenaeus of Orsk has been going to the covidarium since spring and giving communion to the suffering long before the covid went. For example, when I was lying in intensive care with the swine flu, a whole archbishop came to unleash (I will not name my name - Vladyka asked not to advertise it".