Changing practices due to the Corona Virus: guidance from our hierarchs

13 Mar

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Corona Virus ImageAs we live under the shadow of a pandemic due to the Corona Virus (COVID-19), we continue to realize that the disturbing spread of this virulent germ has significantly jarred not only the rhythm of our social life but also our church life.

To lead us through this period of change, we are receiving regular guidance from our hierarchs. Let me draw your attention to special communications issued by the Orthodox Church in America’s (OCA) Holy Synod of Bishops and Metropolitan Council and from our primate of the Orthodox Church in America and our presiding bishop here in the Diocese of New England, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, regarding church regulations during the pandemic :

Let me also draw your attention to a common toolkit developed by the Assembly of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America that presents suggestions for a staged reopening of churches in the U.S.A. Although our parish will be developing and following its own particularly tailored plan to reopen, which eventually will need to receive the blessing by our ruling hierarch, Metropolitan Tikhon, this toolkit presents some helpful resources for consideration as we work on our own plan. It includes:

I know all of us are disheartened that we cannot attend the inspired liturgical services together. But, as Metropolitan Tikhon notes in one of his messages: “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.”

Besides our own church services being held virtually, you may also wish to follow the daily services being live-streamed by the nuns from Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA: hereOn Sundays 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 (with an 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 OCA resources here.

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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