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How Ukrainian churches in the United States conduct holiday services in quarantine

US churches celebrate Palm Sunday in various ways during a pandemic. Most of them conduct online services, writes "Voice of America".

Photo: Shutterstock

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Washington, DC, which adheres to the Gregorian calendar, held divine services and consecration of branches on Palm Sunday through Facebook on April 4.

On April 5, the head of the UGCC in the United States, Boris Guzyak, addressed believers from an empty church with a special blessing and prayer during an outbreak of coronavirus.

The UGCC Church in Maryland, near the capital of Washington, conducts services through Youtube.

In a weekly newsletter, priest Alexander Dumenko wrote to believers that during the outbreak of the coronavirus, the church does not conduct public services because of the need for social distance between people.

On Palm Sunday, which this church celebrates on April 12, the priest intends to leave the consecrated branches on the street, and the believers will pick them up when it suits them, says the church website.

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Ukrainian Orthodox churches in the United States conduct online services who have this opportunity. The office of the Archbishop of the UOC in the United States sent instructions for priests to consecrate branches on Palm Sunday, as the tradition of the feast of the Entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem envisages.

These consecrated branches will remain in the churches until worship with people in the church is restored. On the very first Sunday after quarantine before the Liturgy, priests will distribute blessed branches to believers.

Here's what an online worship service looks like in a U.S. Ukrainian Orthodox Church without parishioners:

In American diocesia in Orlando, Florida, Palm Sunday was celebrated via YouTube.

Mount Dora Church (central Florida) held a service in the parking lot of a large supermarket. Believers came there in their own cars and did not go outside during the service. They watched the service through the glass and listened through a special radio.

In the United States, religious activity is considered “substantial” and is permitted even during quarantine. However, people must follow the guidelines for social distance and hygiene.

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