Moscow, May 11, 2020
According to a number of outlets citing Church sources, Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov, the Chairman of the Russian Church’s Patriarchal Commission for Family and Protection of Motherhood and Childhood, was hospitalized on Tuesday, May 5, with complications from the coronavirus.
He “is in the hospital—COVID, pneumonia,” a source in the Synodal Department for Relations Between the Church and Society and the Media told TASS.
Fr. Dmitry is both one of the most respected priests in Moscow, and also one of the most controversial, as his bold statements about the Orthodox faith and life in modern Russia are often picked up by the secular media.
Just a few days before he was hospitalized, Fr. Dmitry preached about the benefit that could be found in the current pandemic.
“In fact, this is an extremely useful phenomenon,” he said in his sermon on Sunday, May 3. Since the beginning of the pandemic, “selfishness has begun to shrink, and in its place, we see volunteerism, a desire to do something for others, and an understanding of some Christian qualities of the soul that are very important for the Church,” Fr. Dmitry preached.
As for the death of those infected with the coronavirus, including doctors and priests, he said: “These people gave their lives for their neighbor; they experienced a love that exceeds selfishness.”
Fr. Dmitry’s condition is not critical, Interfax-Religion reported yesterday. His condition “has not deteriorated in recent days, thank God. Artificial ventilation was not required,” said a source close to the archpriest.
In addition to his age, 69, Fr. Dmitry recently underwent surgery, putting him at higher risk of contracting the virus.