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: http://www.orthodoxmonasteryellwoodcity.org/chapelOn 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 https://www.oca.org/resources-coronavirus

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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