March 22, 2020: Online services and chats available during COVID-19 crisis

21 Mar

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I hope this message finds you well, and that you all are coping as best as you can during this enforced time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this trying time during the season of Great Lent, we are finding ways to “gather together” via alternative technologies, and I hope you can and will join me in our efforts.

  • Saturday, April 4, 4:00 p.m., Vespers, on Facebook Live.
  • Sunday, April 5, 5th Sunday of Great Lent, Commemorating St. Mary of Egypt:
    • 9:00 a.m. Liturgy of the Word, on Facebook Live;
    • 10:00 a.m. Church School via Zoomdetails will be emailed to participants; the Children’s Sermon been posted on our parish YouTube Channel);
    • 11:00 a.m. Virtual Coffee Hour via GoToMeeting—details will be emailed to participants;
    • 12:00 noon Parish Council Executive Meeting via GoToMeeting—details will be emailed to participants.

Additionally, you may reconnect through these resources:

As you can see, there’s a lot going on! It will take some getting used to, but I continue to look forward to gathering with you in these new ways.

Also, the Orthodox Church in America’s (OCA) Holy Synod of Bishops and Metropolitan Council have issued a number of documents to guide our parishes during this pandemic, including a forceful communiqué, as well as the Holy Synod’s statement and directives to clergy and parishes. Click the links below to view the documents:

Additionally, the OCA has provided links to numerous websites to help you to pray at home and to connect with live-streamed liturgical services. Find those resources here.

With God’s help we will get through this!

With love in Christ, Fr. John Jillions, Pastor

P.S. Metropolitan Tikhon, who currently acts as our diocesan bishop, recently gave a message of encouragement to the faithful at the mid-point of Great Lent. Listen on YouTube here.

He also participated in an interview regarding the pandemic on the “Ancient Faith Today Live” radio broadcast. If you missed the live show, you can still listen to the archived interview, “An Archpastoral Perspective on the Coronavirus,” here.


Changing practices due to the Corona Virus

13 Mar

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,


Corona Virus ImageDuring this Lenten season, we are living under the shadow of a pandemic due to the Corona Virus (COVID-19). The disturbing spread of this virulent germ has significantly jarred not only the rhythm of our social life but also our church life.

In accordance with an urgent archpastoral message our parish received on March 17, 2020, from Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and acting bishop of the New England Diocese, our parish will be closed and all services will be canceled through Wednesday, April 1. I encourage you to read the full text of Metropolitan Tikhon’s message.

Additionally the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), released on March 13 an archpastoral letter concerning the Corona-Virus outbreak, which Metropolitan Tikhon also advises parishioners to read. It contains a prayer of intercession and suggested sanitation measures, as well as encouragement of self-quarantine and social distancing.

I know all of us are disheartened that we cannot attend the inspired lenten services together. But, as Metropolitan Tikhon notes in his message: “Others may worry that [these] directives will shatter our life in community and separate us from Church life. I would ask you to be mindful that these actions are taken for the sake of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and even for the larger community. This is an opportunity to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of the neighbor whom we love.”

As a consolation you may wish to follow the daily services being live-streamed by the nuns from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA: Sunday, Akathist and Hours are served at 8:45 a.m. and Divine Liturgy is served at 9:00 a.m. Additionally, the nuns hold the following services Tuesday through Friday: 6:30 a.m.—Matins, 1st Hour, Typica; noon—3rd, 6th & 9th Hours; 5:00 p.m.—Vespers and Compline (Akathist on Friday). On Saturday, Matins is at 7:30 a.m., Divine Liturgy is at 8:45 a.m., and Vigil is at 6:30 p.m. The monastery is closed on Mondays.

Finally, the OCA website has a very rich and helpful collection of online resources that you can use at home to continue your life of prayer at home during this time: See

Please feel free to call me if you have questions or concerns: (203) 572–0026.

Yours in our Lord, Father John, Pastor


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