The following is a response to Bishop Pitirim’s “Lessons of a Pandemic” which has been making the rounds on the internet. In short, his Grace stated confidently that, “I got infected in the temple in the service.” It appears people have taken this as some sort of validation for closing the churches (which is a bigger issue I will not treat here).


I want to warn everyone who has read “Lessons of a Pandemic” that we need not be hasty. We are warned in the Scriptures:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires (1 Tim 4:3).

We need to be careful not to accept something simply because we agree with its premise. We must consider the contents of what is stated.

In the message, Bishop Pitirim wrote, “I got infected in the temple in the service…This is an answer to all those who hold that you cannot get infected inside the church walls. You can, and how!”

This is certainly possible. Any of us can get sick at church, groceries we brought into the house by not cleaning them, bringing in back the trash can after the garbage men emptied it, and etcetera.

But, this is not what his Grace said. He said he definitely got sick in church.

We must ask ourselves: Which doctor confirmed that specifically where he got infected? How does he know it was “airborne droplets?” Does he have the gift of prophecy? Could his driver, who is out and about, cough on his food or did he prepare his own? Did he clean his own groceries?

I ask these questions because I know people firsthand who got Covid 19 near NYC that never left their house.

Coronavirus is very contagious. Read the news. It stays on surfaces, like in the cruise ship, for (potentially) over three weeks. The Bishop could have been infected by opening a banana someone purchased for him. This is certainly possible as it is also possible he got sick from someone speaking close to him during confession or any other number of possibilities.

What makes my alarm go off is how is he so sure that he got sick in church? And why publicly and with confidence declare something which, scientifically, he would have no way of knowing?

And for those of us reading it: why are we not asking these questions?

Pray for your leaders, both those in temporal and spiritual authority. And most of all, pray for me.

Help Grow the Orthodox Church in Cambodia!

Has this article blessed you? Please bless the Moscow Patriarchate’s missionary efforts in Cambodia to bring the Gospel to a people who have not heard it!