Metropolitan Varsofonius and his crew. Photo by Andrei Petrov. Courtesy of the St. Petersburg Archdiocese of the Russian Orthodox Church and Fontanka.ru
“Above All, We Must Repent Our Sins”: Petersburg Metropolitan Flies over City with Icon and Prayer Against Coronavirus
March 31, 2020
Metropolitan Varsofonius of Saint Petersburg and Ladoga, following the example of his colleague in Leningrad Region, flew over the city in a helicopter. From the air, he prayed for an end to the epidemic.
This was reported on the metropolitan’s website on March 31. Varsofonius took on board an icon [sic] of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan after holding a service in front of it at Kazan Cathedral.
“An aircraft containing the reigning archbishop and clergymen flew over the borders of the Northern Capital, crisscrossing its historical part, while a molieben and the akathist of the Intercession of the Theotokos were sung,” the metropolitan’s press service wrote of the devotional flyover.
The metropolitan emerged from the helicopter with the thought that the ubiquitous virus was a signal that “we [were] not living right.” Varsofonius advised us to take the quarantine as a time to reflect on our lives.
“Let’s not despair. All troubles pass—this too shall pass, and life will return to normal. Most importantly, we must repent of our sins and mend our ways, and the Lord will send deliverance,” Varsofonius concluded.
Two days earlier, a prayer flight passed over Leningrad Region. Bishop Ignatius of Vyborg and Priozersk took on board an icon of the Mother of God of Konevits and the relics of Saint Arsenius of Konevits.
Translated by the Russian Reader