Things progressed swiftly once the COVID-19 virus came to America. It seemed meet and right to archive the responses and messages of our beloved hierarchs and pastor, and preserve them as a testimony to their heroic and sacrificial efforts, offered and endured with pain of heart, "on behalf of all and for all."
These messages are archived in chronological order, oldest at top, most recent at bottom. The current message may always be found on our Home page.
A special section on St Nikiforos the Leper, patron of those suffering from and impacted by the Coronavirus, can be found on our Announcements page.
March 4, 2020 - 9:50AM EDT
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
All scheduled services will be celebrated. It is impossible to obtain a disease from the Body and Blood of Christ. Liturgical services are the beating heart of our parish life.
However, in line with the suggestions and directives from our bishops, and put in place by our Dean, Fr. Victor Potapov, at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, we will take the following steps as they relate to our parish circumstances.
1) Sunday School will not meet until after Pascha. We hope, provisionally, to resume Sunday School on St. Thomas Sunday, April 26th. To mitigate the effect of this, our sermons till then will be especially oriented toward our children.
2) After-Liturgy meals are hereby curtailed until further notice. This means that after the kissing of the Cross and the Communion thanksgiving prayers, tables and seating will not be set up and no meal will be prepared or consumed, except coffee. The post-liturgical counting process that takes place in the choir area will continue.
3) The veneration of icons is permitted as normally done; however, if one wishes in deference to the situation to only bow before them, that is permitted. In no case should our holy objects be simply ignored. They are neighbor agents to the Body and Blood as conduits of Divine blessing, as we know from the miraculous icons of our experience. And all icons are potentially wonder-working and miraculous. A number of people will be assigned to periodically clean the icons with disinfectant wipes. Icons for which we do not have kiots and that would be damaged by the application of disinfectants are removed for now from veneration. In this connection, we ask that veneration be restricted to icons on the large analogia that are within kiots and cleaned.
4) Priests will continue to bestow blessings normally. We wash our hands numerous times in connection to serving.
Finally, I include an extensive quote from Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe quoted by Fr. Victor in his communication:
“In our churches, we shall continue with the celebration of all our rites, customs, Divine Services and above all the offering and receipt of the Holy Mysteries in precisely the same manner as we have always done. No genuinely believing Christian can for one moment accept that the Holy Mysteries might bring or be the source of sickness or ill-health: by no means! The Mysteries of Christ are the true medicine of our souls and bodies and bring nothing but life — and life eternal. Any whose hearts are troubled by present matters should pray fervently for an increase of faith so that fear can be cast aside; and the Church will continue her ancient witness to the love that is beyond fear, bringing the Holy Mysteries to the world, and to each of us, in a time when it needs them profoundly.
"Do not be afraid! As we sing so frequently in these Lenten days, 'God is with us!' And He is merciful and loving, quick to hear and heal and to save."
We must all pray fervently that God will deliver us from this plague. Remember the Lord's words, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church.