Archbishop Elpidophoros of America held a Virtual Town Hall with the Metropolitans of the Synod, the Bishops, and more than 325 members of the National Clergy to discuss the magnitude of the coronavirus pandemic crisis and how it was impacting the Greek Orthodox Church nationwide.
The Archbishop took questions from the clergy and discussed ways to keep the Church relevant and engaged in the midst of a virtual shutdown of all parishes across the country.
Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, who was a participant on the call, told The Pappas Post in a telephone interview that the Archbishop was “very engaged” with the ministry of the clergy and encouraged them to join the doctors and nurses who were on the front lines of this crisis and provide the spiritual care needed by their flock.
“Like the video address that he shared on social media a few days earlier, the Archbishop– like a father to his children– is leading the way with Town Hall conversations like this one, expressing his care and concern, while reminding us all that we have a higher calling to serve, especially in times like these,” Bishop Demetrios said.
The Archbishop did also express concern for elderly clergy who were considered to be high-risk individuals and instructed them to stay home and follow the instructions of health professionals.
Elpidophoros also briefed the clergy about his discussion with Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, where they identified two areas in which the Church can especially assist the wider community of each parish.
First, parishes should organize support around the families of doctors, nurses and health care workers who now have to spend time away from their homes.
Secondly, parishes were encouraged to organize support to provide meals and nutrition to children experiencing scarcity.
The Archbishop called on his priests to think “outside the box” when developing methods to provide outreach and spiritual care to their respective communities.
The issues of the upcoming visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and the Clergy Laity Congress in Cleveland, Ohio, were also discussed.
Without outright cancelling the visit of the Patriarch, which was scheduled for mid-May of this year, Elpidophoros told his priests that the visit was “in doubt” and would probably be postponed, as would the July National Assembly of the Clergy Laity Congress.
He said decisions on both would be made next week and that he was meeting regularly with the relevant committees to discuss options.
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