In Moscow – a prayer for China to overcome coronavirus epidemic


MOSCOW (Reuters) – At a humble service at a Moscow Russian Orthodox church on Sunday morning, Father Igor led a prayer to help China prevail against the coronavirus epidemic.

“It’s about helping our brothers from China who are suffering from this scary misfortune, this destructive plague,” Father Igor said. “We perform this prayer and ask God for mercy toward China and its people.”

According to the latest figures, there have been 68,500 cases of the illness and 1,665 deaths in mainland China. Elsewhere there have been about 500 cases in some two dozen countries and territories, with four deaths – in Japan, Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, the Philippines and France.

Russia has reported two cases of the illness – two Chinese nationals who have recovered and have been released from hospital, according to the authorities. Russia has quarantined hundreds of Russian and Chinese nationals upon their arrival from China.

Oleg Popenkov, a worshipper at Father Igor’s service, said he was relieved the disease has not caused more devastation in Russia. But China, he said, needed the prayers.

“We must pray for the misfortune happening in China to end soon.”

Reporting by Lev Sergeev; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Frances Kerry