As confusion reigns in Greek Orthodox parishes and Metropolises in the United States, north of the border Archbishop Sotirios of Canada has issued a powerful statement, reminding some rogue parish priests and community presidents that he’s in charge and Churches will not close.
Sotirios oversees 75 parish communities in Canada.
In his encyclical, he unequivocally stated, in bold letters, that Canada’s Greek Orthodox Churches “will not close” but will be limited to 50 people per liturgy.
“Church Services and Divine Liturgies will be conducted normally, but only fifty (50) persons will be allowed to attend each of the Services and Divine Liturgies. Everyone is requested and encouraged to follow Church Services and Divine Liturgies on television, on the radio and through other social media platforms. If the Canadian authorities proceed to give additional instructions, we will again respect them,” according to Sotirios’ encyclical.
Sotirios also admonished what he called “hasty parish priests and community presidents” to stop acting as “the responsible leaders” of the Church in Canada and instructed his clergy and faithful to follow his– and only his– instructions.
“Our Churches will not close. In any eventuality, instructions and directives will be issued by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and no one else. It would be prudent for some hasty parish priests and community presidents – very few, perhaps two to three – to stop acting as if they were ‘the responsible leaders’ of the Church in Canada. In case of further changes, everyone should expect instructions from the Archdiocese.”
Sotirios did leave open the possibility of services being forced to continue with only the priest, the chanter and the sexton, should conditions change in the country.
“Church Services and Divine Liturgies will be conducted properly, even if we get to the point that they are conducted only by the priest, the chanter and the sexton. As was mentioned above, appropriate instructions will be issued by the Archdiocese in any eventuality.”
The complete statement in Greek and English from Archbishop Sotirios of Canada is here.
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