At a time when parishes should have been overflowing with people during Holy Week services that culminated with the joyous singing of “Christos Anesti” at Midnight services, Fr. James Antokas— like hundreds of priests throughout the nation— was alone.
This was a typical sight in the era of a health crisis like the coronavirus pandemic.
In most cases, the priests were allowed to conduct services with their chanters and one or two altar boys or deacons to support their liturgical duties, which were live-streamed to faithful watching safely from their homes.
But what wasn’t typical was how the community of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bethesda, Maryland, tended to their priest so that he actually wouldn’t be… alone.
Parishioners sent photos of their families that would have normally been overflowing the pews and like that, the rows filled with familiar faces. Even physically far away in their homes, Fr. Antokas would see familiar faces every time he turned and faced the congregation.
Then, on Easter Sunday, the sound of car horns honking brought the beloved parish priest outside after Agape Services where a procession of dozens upon dozens of cars, filled with families of St. George, drove past the church to wish their priest and his Presvytera “Christos Anesti” and to thank him for being there for them— albeit digitally.
Photos and video from Washington DC-area ABC7 affilitate WJLA
News report from ABC7
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