Speaking live to thousands of people in the United States, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America sought to allay fears and anxiety amongst Greek Orthodox faithful as churches continue to be closed at a time when people need spiritual guidance the most.
The Archbishop, no stranger to technology and social media, held the first-ever virtual town hall that was moderated by Emmy Award winning Journalist, Demetria Kalodimos of Nashville, TN.
Entitled, “A Pastoral Word with Archbishop Elpidophoros,” the online event was unprecedented in its size and scope, as he spent one hour taking and answering questions via Zoom. The town hall was also broadcasted on Facebook and YouTube.
The Archbishop addressed numerous issues: on the necessity of facing this pandemic with greatly attenuated services, on the means of distribution of Holy Communion, and the relationship between faith and science.
“Science and faith, they are not contradictory. They exist in parallel, and thus they are never in conflict,” he said when explaining how the Church must work alongside medical and health experts to protect the faithful.
He also made a distinction between Holy Communion itself and the method of distribution: “We believe that what we receive during the Eucharist is truly the Blood and the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not merely bread and wine. As such, the Body and Blood of our Lord do not transmit any disease or virus, but the way we distribute the Communion, the instruments, are earthly.”
Even as he affirmed the traditional distribution practices of the Eucharist, he noted that the Communion lines in large Churches might pose a greater threat in this time of pandemic.
Archbishop Elpidophoros closed the webinar with words of encouragement to the thousands who were online listening.
“You have reached out not just to me, but you have connected in some profound way to each other. Your presence on this call is an act of faith, and your questions remind us all that you are serious and believing Orthodox Christians, who love your Church and love each other. I know that we will get through this together … we will come out on the other side of this pandemic. Our world will be changed, but change is part of living in this world. The only eternal constant is God, Who is our hope, our refuge, and our salvation. I wish all of you every spiritual blessing and continued good health this Holy Week and every week! May you know in your hearts the power of His Resurrection, which extends through all eternity to every corner of creation. Καλή Δύναμη, καὶ Καλή Ἀνάσταση σε ὃλους!”
The Archbishop has been frequently providing updates, videos and other content on his social media platforms, including daily memorial services for Greek Orthodox faithful who have died from the coronavirus pandemic. Follow the Archbishop on Twitter and on his Facebook Page.
Watch the recording of the live broadcast:
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