Touching & Kissing
As a temporary measure and duty of care to the vulnerable during the current Covid-19 epidemic, touching and kissing the Holy ikons, the Book of the Gospels and other sacred objects in the church should be avoided, but devotion and respect may best be demonstrated by reverentially bowing towards them and making the sign of the cross. Equally, the fraternal respect and greetings shown to the clergy and especially the greeting known as the ‘Kiss of Peace’ between the clergy and laity should also take the form of a deferential gesture rather than physical contact.
Before & after the Divine Liturgy
The Sacred Vessels used during the Divine Liturgy, which are traditionally wrapped in the liturgical Bundle, should be removed and individually washed with soap and water before being dried with a clean towel. This should be done before the commencement of the Liturgy and again afterwards, before wrapping them in the Bundle.
During the Divine Liturgy there are two Lavabos, the First at the beginning of the Liturgy immediately before the ‘Preparation of the Bread & Wine’, and the Second just before the ‘Great Entrance’. Instead of a merely symbolic pouring of water on the celebrant’s fingertips, a large bowl with soap should be used for hand-washing. In addition to the celebrant, any other clerical assistants who will administer the consecrated elements, should also take part in a full hand-washing. The hand towels in use during each Liturgy should be removed and laundered, so that they are clean for every celebration.
During the ‘Fraction, Consignation and Comixture’ of the consecrated elements, the celebrant intincts the Spadikon with the Holy Blood in the Holy Chalice before signing the Holy Body with the Precious Blood. As an additional health precaution the Holy Chalice & Spoon will not be used to administer the Precious Blood to the Clergy and Laity, but they will receive only the Holy Body in their hands. As this has earlier been intincted, they will in fact still be receiving Holy Communion in both kinds. Only the celebrant will consume the remaining Precious Blood from the Holy Chalice and will be responsible for the Holy Ablutions, whilst the other clergy in the sanctuary will drink the Post-Communion water each from individual glasses, which will also be thoroughly washed with the Sacred Vessels at the Liturgy’s conclusion.