Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok’s Views on Coronavirus

The light of Christ illuminates everyone. That is why whenever eclipses occur, whenever there are clouds, we stop and look for the Light: where is it? We find this Light, because it also shines in the darkness (cf. John 1:5), and then we go to the Light. We should always do so in our lives. Never run away to some dark thickets, but calmly come to your senses and, whatever it is, look for the will of God. This will of God is our salvation.

The world is dealing with some economic and political challenges now. The world is fighting viruses, microbes and diseases – you name it – but the world still isn’t looking for Christ. The world is not willing to humble itself down. Like it was two thousand years ago, if Christ were now among us, He would be crucified again, no one would need Him.

Panic is being artificially inflated. They say that in Slovakia, the president is going to impose sanctions on the Orthodox Church because while Catholics do not hold church services there, Orthodox Christians do. Those are serious things. They will say “Quarantine” and that’s it. What they mean is that the Church is some kind of attraction, a museum, you know? There must be churches on Earth, and there must be divine services in them. It will keep the world from the final abyss, from perdition.

It is not easy for us to break away from our daily worries, from our daily cares, from our weaknesses and to rejoice in the Lord, to rejoice in the fact that we are part of the Orthodox Church, that we are not afraid of anything but sin. People are afraid of some viruses, but it is sin that is the ultimate plague. It’s transmitted thousands of miles away. Therefore we speak about the Love of God as the only medicine we need to treat our immortal souls. God’s Love is available only in the Orthodox Church, because everything here is built on love.

The person who comes to a church will never get ill with anything bad – this is our position, this is our faith. Every disease, all these epidemics – it’s not an accident. It is a punishment for ungodliness, for unbelief, for sins, which keep people isolated from God.

I remember going to a TB ward and having conversations with sick people. It’s a holy place, what can happen there?! Where are you going to be treated besides the church? There was no radiation in the churches in the Chernobyl zone, where the radiation was at its peak! I was shocked by one occasion. A forester – a big and powerful man – arrived in Minsk to be ordained in the year of the Chernobyl disaster. That year there was a lot of strawberries, and he brought us some strawberries. I say, “So you’re from there, from that area, right?” He told me, “I make the sign of the cross over all of this! We eat everything – berries and mushrooms. We bless our food, we believe in God.” He said it without a shadow of a doubt. Meanwhile, people were being evacuated from there…

Now there’s a very big panic about the coronavirus, as if there had never been a virus before. There used to be quite a few viruses in the past, and more people died then, not less. Regrettably, that’s the state of affairs now that people are scared. Such is the state of the world.

However, if we are people of faith, we trust God and say that even a hair will not fall from our heads, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them (Mark 16:18).

Unfortunately, our faith is weak. We need to grow stronger in our faith. When we entrust our lives to God, then we have no panic, no fear. You will live as long as you are to, no more no less. How you spend your life is up to you. We don’t look at quantity, we look at quality. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand (Psalm 84:10) – that is the difference between a believer and an unbeliever. For an unbeliever, the only thing that matters is his earthly life. What does Christ tell us? And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell (See Matthew 5:29). That’s the difference. For us, earthly life is not an end in itself, it is a means. We live this life to learn to live with God…

The more trials, the more sorrows on the way to God, the more the soul clings to its Creator and grows up. This is our way; this is our life. The person who has really found God, understands that the most important thing that has happened in his life is his meeting with God. His life acquires the meaning that does not vanish after his physical death.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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