Christ is amongst us!
I hope this note finds you all well. The email below was sent by our Hierarchs after the Metropolitan Council Meeting last night to the clergy of our Church, that we might inform you all of these things. Please note that we at Four Evangelists’ will be adhering to the requirements set forth by our Hierarchs, including the suspension of our coffee hours for the time being. We would also ask that people consider refraining from venerating the Holy Icons in Church, and simply make the Sign of the Cross and bow thrice before them. We will be discussing these things tomorrow at the conclusion of the Liturgy.
Please note that we will continue to hold all of our scheduled Services – during trying times such as these, our corporate prayer is more important than ever, and, unless you are feeling ill or consider yourself to be “at risk”, I would urge you to make every effort to attend and participate, as we offer up our corporate prayers for all of God’s children, taking all precautions demanded by prudence, but not forgetting nor neglecting the importance of our coming together, in Faith, as the Body of Christ. As the Apostle teaches us, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:22-25)
Take care, and may God bless you.
With love in Christ,
He is and ever shall be!
13 March, 2020
Venerable Cassian the Roman
FURTHER DIRECTIVES TO CLERGY AND THROUGH THEM TO THE FAITHFUL CONCERNING NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
TO: THE CLERGY OF OUR HOLY UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
RE: FURTHER DIRECTIVES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Dearly Beloved Brothers and Co-Workers in our Lord’s Vineyard,
CHRIST IS AMONG US! HE IS AND ALWAYS SHALL BE!
We recently issued our pastoral letter concerning precautions that are necessary during the threat of the CORONAVIRUS – COVID-19 PANDEMIC. In that letter we urged our faithful who are healthy and not exhibiting any symptoms of any virus to continue worship so that as communities of faith, we might pray for those who are, indeed, ill and those who have reposed from the virus. In order to be properly prepared as the parish priests and spiritual fathers of our faithful, we must take important steps to ensure that our Church buildings and we ourselves do not serve as conduits for the spread of the disease. Therefore, we offer the following directives to which you MUST adhere until further notice:
- YOU MUST READ THE CORONAVIRUS PRAYER YOU RECEIVED FROM US (IT IS ALSO ON THE WEBSITE) DURING THE DIVINE LITURGY FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE, FOLLOWING THE LITANY OF FERVENT SUPPLICATION – THE TRIPLE LITANY. THE PRAYER SHOULD ALSO BE READ AT ALL OTHER SERVICES.
- At all times your personal cleanliness and preparedness are of ultimate importance. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly so that any liturgical utensil or item of worship is not contaminated with the virus droplets gathered from anything that you have unknowingly touched prior to your entrance to the Church.
- You personally MUST (as always) take full responsibility for the entire Sanctuary and Altar, including all liturgical items and utensils. You must obtain sanitary wipes like Lysol or Clorox – which are sometimes hard to find (see examples and “how to” solutions on gov under “Steps to Prevent Illness”) – or a cloth with alcohol (at least 70%”) – and completely wipe clean your Tabernacle and Altar surface, Chalice, Diskos, Star, Communion Spoon, Spear, censer, candle holders, the Gospel, hand cross along with any and ALL items utilized during Divine Liturgy or any other worship service.
- You should refrain until further notice from offering the Holy Gospel, the Chalice after communing individuals and the veneration of the Holy Cross at the conclusion of Liturgy or any other services, along with any other icons in Church.
- Those who serve in the altar with you MUST thoroughly wash their hands AFTER entering the Altar area. Those who will slice and prepare the antidoron bread for distribution should do so after cleansing the knife they will use and the vessel in which the bread will be placed. Before they touch the bread, they MUST put on surgical gloves or completely sanitize their hands.
- Since you will not be offering the Holy Cross for veneration, you should personally distribute the antidoron bread to the faithful at the conclusion of Liturgy. You MUST sanitize the hand with which you will distribute the bread or establish a method of presenting the bread on a tray where the pieces do not touch and the faithful do not touch more than the piece they are taking. Our recommendation, however, remains that you, yourself should distribute the bread.
- You may NOT utilize any type of individual spoons to commune the faithful. Please refer to our pastoral letter for the discussion about the Eucharist. You may instruct your faithful to open their mouths widely, but do not use phraseology like “to drop the Body and Blood”. If any of your faithful are uncomfortable with this and in spite of the explanation about the POWER AND THE LOVE AND THE LIFE THAT COMES FROM THE CHALICE, then they may refrain from the Sacrament during this challenging period. We are not asking the faithful to believe our word regarding such things – we are asking them to act in faith. We cannot force people to do so – it must come from within themselves.
- A few of our parishes have already begun to offer a live streaming of the Divine Liturgy every Sunday and perhaps even Holy Days, so that those who are ill may at least pray at home with their brothers and sisters in Christ. We approve of this possibility, but with the hope that it does not keep those who are healthy from being present in Church.
- If you have any further question about what to do during this Pandemic threat, please do not hesitate to contact us in any way. We must face the fact that attendance during Divine Services will most likely decrease significantly during this crisis. We should not lose faith over this and we should encourage our faithful to be attentive to the elderly, their brothers and sisters who are not able to pray with the community and to seek ways of supporting their local community food banks and other service organizations.
- We strongly advise that Coffee Hours not be held until further notice and that any parish organizational meetings or conferences be postponed or done by telephone conference. The proximity of people might be just too close in these types of gatherings. We also encourage the faithful to simply bow to one another in our parishes, which practice the “Kiss of Peace” during the Creed.
- As priests of Christ, dear Brothers, you are called to be most attentive to what you see in the lives of your faithful sons and daughters. Be present to them. Be ready to visit them but take all precautions when doing so in order to protect both yourself and your spiritual children. WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE CDC GUIDELINES (cdc.gov), SO THAT YOU CAN EDUCATE YOUR FAITHFUL ABOUT THEM.
We have confidence that just as the previous viruses and other threats to mankind have finally been defeated, we will witness the same today. Let us be exemplary examples of faith and action to one another – not only throughout the duration of the present threat – but throughout our lives. We can work miracles by that faith and in the resulting joy, draw others in to Christ’s Vineyard. You all are in our prayers daily and we ask for yours for ourselves. St. James states clearly: “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing Psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Name of the Lord. AND THE PRAYER OF FAITH WILL SAVE THE SICK, AND THE LORD WILL RAISE HIM UP.” (James 5:13-15)
CHRIST IS AMONG US! HE IS AND ALWAYS SHALL BE!
By the Grace of God, Metropolitan
By the Grace of God, Archbishop
By the Grace of God, Archbishop of South American Eparchy
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