Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with gravity and sobriety that I address you, but also with faith and hope in our loving and merciful God. We have received the attached directives from the OCA Synod of Bishops and from Archbishop Alexander of the Diocese of the South. Please read them and contact me with any questions you have. I strongly advise you to heed this rather than just talking among yourselves. The latter could easily lead to misunderstanding and misplaced anxiety. The steps outlined, which entail a significant reduction of church services and activities for the next two weeks, may seem drastic to some of you. However, they are precautionary rather than reactive, and out of concern for the well-being of all the members of our society while the threat of the spread of the coronavirus remains high.
To summarize the most significant part, the only church services and activities to be held the next two weeks, until March 29, will be Sunday Liturgies, Presanctified Liturgies, and the Vesperal Liturgy for the Annunciation. Furthermore, even these will be attended by a select group rather than the whole congregation. If you are not part of this “core group,” please be advised you are directed to have prayers at home and/or view a “webcast service.” I will be happy to counsel anyone on what you can do, or answer any questions in this regard. Mat. Sarah and I will be taking it upon ourselves to disinfect the church, so I ask others to refrain from coming to church for the next couple of weeks.
These and other measures have not been arrived at lightly but with much thought and consultation. These are unprecedented times with an unprecedented world-wide pandemic, but we need to maintain faith that all is in the hands of God. We also as individuals and within our families need to pray for God’s mercy and intercession on behalf of all. Let our prayers rise up as incense before God for the sake of all, and may this be part of our Lenten practice: “Thine own of Thine own, we offer unto Thee, on behalf of all and for all.”
With love in Christ,
Links to Directives: