A press release from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America outlines further measures that the Church is taking to protect staff and faithful.
According to the latest announcement, parishes will continue to perform services, however, faithful are asked to stay home and pray from homes and follow along through internet broadcasts which are readily available from dozens of parishes.
The statement didn’t clarify if the directive was intended only for the Churches in the Direct Archdiocesan District, which includes parishes in the New York area, or for all Metropolises.
The opening line of the press release refers to Archbishop Elpidophoros’ desire to “protect the health of the Greek Orthodox flock in America, and the wider public.
The Archdiocese of America doesn’t have the authority to impose church closures or other administrative matters over the various Metropolises in the United States, which have their own Metropolitan who reports directly to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
The complete statement from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America follows:
ARCHBISHOP ELPIDOPHOROS ANNOUNCES FURTHER MEASURES TO PROTECT THE FAITHFUL RESPONDING TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
New York, NY – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America announces today measures to protect the health of the Greek Orthodox Flock of America, and the health of the wider public. These decisions are being taken in light of the recommendations of Federal, State, and City officials and agencies, including the CDC.
Beginning March 17, the Archdiocesan Headquarters in New York City (which is also the residence of the Archbishop) will close, and all employees will work from their homes. The Archdiocese possesses a system of videoconferencing and virtual connectivity, that will allow for the work of the Church to proceed in good order.
The Archbishop, out of an abundance of caution for the health of his flock and the public, and especially because New York City has become a “hot zone” of the Covid-19 pandemic, is canceling his public schedule effective immediately. In addition, all scheduled ordinations will be restricted to family members only.
The Churches will continue to perform the appointed services, however the Faithful should pray from their homes and participate in these services through Internet broadcasts and multimedia. Clergy will continue to make visitations for those in need of sacramental and pastoral care.
From Archbishop Elpidophoros:
“As Christians, we must take responsibility for the well being of others. We can be united in the spirit even as we are apart in the body. In fact, protecting the health of those around us is a powerful witness to our faith, that we place the good of others above our own. With our faith in God, we can overcome these present difficulties, using the rational, scientific knowledge that we possess through our God-given intelligence.
“As your shepherd, I will be ever-vigilant for the welfare of our Archdiocese, praying in the Chapel of Saint Paul every day for all of you, for our Nation, and for the world. Above all, I will offer the Holy and Divine Liturgy for the life of each and every one of you. May the Lord keep us all in health and safety until these challenges have passed.”
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