Church and Kovid-19: a fatal lesson from the 1918 pandemic

Those who refused to adapt to the epidemic re-obtained the results.

& Quot;  Churchless & quot;  Sunday in 1918 left the cities quiet.
In Zamora, Spain, “mass celebrations were positively encouraged – and 3 percent, or more than double the national average, Zamora had the highest death rate in any city in Spain,” science journalist Laura Spinney said in her The book “Pider Rider” reads: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World. ”

In September, a local bishop revolted against health officials by ordering evening prayers for nine days in honor of St. Rocco, the patron saint of plague and pestilence, because of our sins and inaction, the evil of Zamoranos that was evil . Spinner wrote, “The avenging hand of eternal justice is brought upon us.”

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On the first day, “He finished the Holy Communion to a large crowd in the Church of San Esteban. Another church contains the worship relics of the congregation St. Rocco, which is said to mean lining up to kiss them,” she wrote.

“Organized religion expresses the epidemic more clearly than it is now, and it was more likely to take precedence over public health,” Spinney told CNN via email. “In Zamora’s newspaper pages … a notice announcing an impending mass in the city’s churches was printed next to the warning to avoid the crowd. No one noticed the inconsistency of the two.”

A month later, Spinney wrote in his book, Bishop wrote that science had proved itself ineffective and people were beginning to “turn their eyes to heaven”. People continued to attend meetings in packed cathedrals and streets. When the health authorities tried to hold the meetings, the bishop accused them of interfering in the affairs of the church.

Not attending church services meant that some people started other activities on Sunday.

By mid-November, Zamora had seen more illness and death than any other Spanish city. Although priests and family lost their lives, Spinney wrote, the bishop praised those who participated in the service by writing in his words “the legitimate wrath of God”. The bishop’s followers did not hold him accountable, but rather revered him, and he was honored for his efforts and remained bishop for nearly a decade.

In addition to the Globe, villagers living in Alaska’s Seward Peninsula were experiencing the tail of their pandemic nightmare in late November.
On the last Saturday of the month, two visitors from Nome, Alaska, attended a stand-room-only service at the small local chapel. Nome visitors said many people in the house were ill, but no one was seriously worried, The New York Times science and drug reporter Gina Colata wrote in her book “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Virus” Search for what caused it. ”

Two days after singing, praying and serving feast, villagers became ill with the flu. Of the 80 local Eskimo villagers, 72 died and their bodies were left in igloo. In an igloo, the dogs scratched the corpses.

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“Another igloo looked like a site of destruction at first,” Kolata wrote. “And when the rescue team peeked inside, all they saw was a pile of corpses. Then, suddenly, three bewildered children came from under the Derekins and shouted. They had somehow survived the porridge, which was the corpse of their family. Was surrounded by. ”

By the end of the three-week outbreak, the village had only five adults and 46 orphans. According to Colata’s book, the missionary’s wife Clara Foso, who had not been ill, wrote a regrettable letter years after the Eskimos:

“There was a spiritual resurgence among the Eskimos at the Mission last Sunday in November 1918, before the influenza disaster fell upon us. There was a crowd in the new school room for worship in the entire township of Eskimo. We felt the spirit of the Lord. Our Meanwhile, as the communicators stood at the altar and later met in prayer, many confided their faith. We were deeply moved. This was the last time we had gathered together.

“By the following Sunday most of the members went on to a more beautiful service with their Savior. You, who are the sons and daughters of these children of God, may remember that many of them were bearing witness to their Lord and the hymns. The last Sunday we were singing was shared, ‘I can hear my saver calling.’

Why some thought services are worth the risk

What people typically receive while attending religious services is a sense of comfort, spiritual community and grounding, Drs. Said Christina Puchalski, founder and director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health in Washington DC. “People have a sense of kinship and affinity, and then in a parodic sense, perhaps experiencing God, although people understand that. Rituals can be very healing and believing for many people, the source of their hope. .. … this is what sustains them. “
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During the epidemic, the rug has been pulled down from believers and there are few places where they – and indeed, anyone – can feel hope, Puchalski said.

“When it comes to religious services, it’s more than going out of a restaurant,” she said. “When you think historically, in countries where people were persecuted for their faith, people went to church or mosque or temple anyway, despite the possibility that they would be killed. Because it was for them Is very important. That’s what they are. On a very deep level. “

“It is true that for different religions, building communities for rituals is incredibly important,” said Stephen Cowell, president of the Department of Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University. “And if you cannot come together or worship or worship, it means that you are unable to carry out the teachings of that religion or … unable to fulfill the duties and responsibilities that you have Huh.”

On the other hand, some church people may have different beliefs about the severity of the epidemic and how to handle it, Puchalski said. And some differ in how they assess risk. Others may be fed up with isolation burnout, deciding that going to church is worth the risk and that if they catch coronovirus, their illness will probably be mild.
Denial is a coping mechanism that can allow people subconsciously to live life in general. Any one of those schools of thought could lead someone to “make decisions accordingly,” Puchalski said.

Indiana: Where the Opportunity Was Found amidst the Crisis

The innovative spirit of reintroducing religious services during the epidemic did not begin in 2020.

Although religiously savvy, religious leaders and priests living during the 1918 epidemic reduced methods to maintain both personal faith and community spirituality.

When influenza outbreaks occurred in Indiana in the fall of 1918, the second and worst wave of the 1918 flu, health officials implemented statewide quarantine from October 6 of that year. Nevertheless, religious leaders took advantage of the opportunity to master and console their confederates, wrote Casey Pfeiffer, a historian with the Indiana Historical Bureau, a division of the Indiana State Library.
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The press, for one, functions as a kind of liaison between leaders and members: through local letters, leaders remain connected with members by providing hope and ways to follow their religion. Readers were encouraged to read scripture or read Sunday School lessons, or to worship alone or with family.

In a published statement, one reverend suggested that families pray at the same time that services were usually held. And once the quarantine was extended to the end of October, First Presbyterian Church in Rushville, Indiana, urged families to make Sunday a “day of prayer and meditation in their homes.”

As the epidemic droned, some newspapers designated large sections to be guides for Sunday services. In a series of Indianapolis Star newspaper “Wear with the Star”, there was a full page in which to open and postpone hymns, scripture lessons and sermons.

Bloodshed and gas fumes: 1918 flu treatment

A reverend worked with the telephone company to facilitate dial-in services. “There was a sense of responsibility and really wanted to make sure that religion remained a focus in people’s lives,” said Pfeiffer. “The past really informs us about the present and, if we can, hopefully it inspires us to work towards a better future.”

Although members and religious leaders had to figure out how to coordinate, not everyone was satisfied with the adjustment. “As we see today,” Pififfer said, “there was some pushback against that, which people wanted to happen in person.”

Some church leaders hosted open air services, as they felt that small meetings in adequately ventilated churches would not seriously harm communities. Acknowledging the danger, health officials and law enforcement intervened at some places, either discouraging services, allowing them or sending officers to meetings. At the height of the declining wave, some clergy and rabbis used their buildings as temporary hospitals.

What the 1918 Flu Pandemic Can Teach Us About Coronavirus

In late November 1918, some religious institutions gradually reopened, envisioning the future of the church – including reducing the length or number of services, mandating the wearing of masks, and guiding them to proper ventilation Instructing campaigners to dedicate a portion of their messages. Members’ Homes and Workplaces.

“It was challenging back then, it’s challenging now,” Pififfer said. ‚ÄúReligious leaders, both then and now, are trying to do the best they can to meet the needs of their neighbors, while keeping (at the forefront) their safety and health. There are certainly similarities to attract and hope. Was. ”

Staying connected personally and together spiritually

However, we did take the carpet out from under our feet, “There are many things that provide the feeling of being grounded, like a replacement for that carpet,” said Puchalski. “There are so many creative ways that I am taking part in myself. I can go to Mass all over the world because of YouTube. It’s so neat to listen home from different places.”

Today’s believers are connected through virtual Bibles or prayer meetings, service livestreams, drive-in services, and more. “Kovid is still here, there is really no effective treatment, and no vaccine is available yet,” Puchalski said. “As long as this is the case, I will continue to follow the CDC (Guidelines).”

The root of the condition “ultimately boils down to a relationship with God,” Puchalski said. “Yes, for many people, their faith is prevalent in the community, no question – a great loss for many people, which for them, it is important.

“We get so caught up with it that maybe we forget another way to honor our inner faith that can only be safe. And that the big picture is, again, God, the divine or holy relationship , However you understand it. ”


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