How is Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church responding to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Letter of Directives from Metropolitan Joseph:
Dearest Beloved Fathers and Brethren in the Lord,
These are Directives to be followed by the Clergy dealing with Covid-19 (Coronavirus), until further notice, based on the instructions of the US Center for Disease Control.
1) All parishes, monasteries and missions in our Diocese will provide stations in the Narthex and/or Nave for the Faithful to disinfect their hands as they enter the Church.
2) Signs will be posted at the entrance that recommend sick persons not attend the Services.
3) The clergy will not offer their hands to be reverenced and will refrain from touching the faithful either through handshakes or an embrace.
4) Signs will be posted recommending that honor be shown to Icons and the blessing Holy Cross by only bowing.
5) No books – Liturgical or Scriptural, will be kept in the pews. Parishioners will be instructed to bring their own books from home.
6) The Faithful will not receive the Antidoron from the Clergy, but on their own as they leave the church.
7) In the case of the use of flowers (Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross, Palm Sunday, Holy Friday), the Faithful will take them on their own as they leave the church. On Holy Wednesday (Holy Unction), each priest will anoint each Faithful using separate cotton-tipped swabs.
8) The Eucharist will be distributed as per usual. (My instruction: For those who would like to receive Holy Communion, but not as usual, I give my blessing to receive with open mouth and the spoon never actually touches them. This seams like the best way for
the time being. Therefore, I want to require it.)
9) In concelebrations, the clerical “Kiss of Peace” will be through bowing to one another. In parishes where the laity exchange the “Kiss of Peace,” they will avoid contact through bowing to one another.
10) After every service, all liturgical objects and surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned.
11) (My instruction.) Looking forward, we must assume that at least some of us, even whole families may experience quarantine. Including me, we are in the high risk pool. This stacks up to being a trying time for all of us. That’s why I thank you for your holy
prayers and care for all of us in our Diocese. You all also are in my prayers!
12) As Orthodox Christians we all are called to give ourselves to the will of God, knowing that pleasing God first even in the midst of a serious diseases is a testimony of our conscience and a God-pleasing sacrifice and offering help and corporation to allay
the spread of disease is an expression of love for our neighbor. Always remember that “good neighbor is better than brother”!
March 10, 2020 With love in Christ, Metropolitan JOSEPH
Recommendations of who should not attend services at this time:
If you are currently ill, or recently ill and recovering, we recommend that you not attend services due to the current risks of infection with COVID-19 (coronavirus).
What does this mean for those who will attend services?
A station has been provided in the Narthex with hand sanitizer for all to disinfect their hands as they enter. Please insure that you and your family take advantage of the sanitizer.
The clergy will not offer their hands to be reverenced and will refrain from touching the Faithful either through handshakes or an embrace.
Honor will be shown to icons and the blessing Holy Cross only by bowing. Please refrain from touching or kissing the icons and do not allow your children to do so.
No books, Liturgical or Scriptural, will be kept in the pews. Parishioners should bring their own books from home if desired.
The Faithful will not receive the Antidoron from the Clergy, but on their own as they leave the church.
Parishioners should avoid kissing or embracing each other and instead bow to each other.