You can read the Encyclical of His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH Regarding COVID-19 https://www.antiochian.org/regulararticle/619
St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
March 13th, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
St. Ignatius is closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and we are taking immediate steps to address the growing concern in our community. Today, we created a committee consisting of four doctors in our parish (Dr. Holly Algood PhD, Dr. David Oxley MD, Dr. Joshua McCollum MD and Dr. Julie McElroy MD) and myself; for the purpose of reviewing the latest developments related to COVID-19 and to determine the best ways to protect our community from possible exposure. We are recommending the following:
- Those of you who are in a higher risk group (I.e. those who are over 60 years of age, as well as
people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions _______ like heart disease, lung disease diabetes, etc.) are encouraged to seek counsel from your doctors about whether or not to avoid larger social gatherings such as the divine services, and to follow their advice. If your physician recommends self-quarantine then we encourage you to follow that advice and to contact Fr. Philip to arrange for the sacraments to be administered to you. If you choose to stay home, please consider keeping a Sunday morning prayer rule, such as reading the Paraklesis, or an Akathist in lieu of attending the Divine Liturgy. Another alternative would be to watch a live stream of the Divine Liturgy from a parish that offers it (examples include St. Mary’s in Cambridge, MA and St. George Lawrence, MA). All services at St. Ignatius will continue without interruption.
- For those who will be attending the services at St. Ignatius on Sunday morning, we ask that upon entering the Narthex, each person puts their offering in the collection plate and then washes their hands or uses hand sanitizes before entering the church.
- The nursery will be closed until further notice.
- Priests will give blessings, but will not offer their hand to be kissed at any time.
- Coffee hour and meals after Presancified Liturgy will be cancelled until further notice.
- With regard to the atrium, the following steps are being taken:
We are wiping down the tables utensils and door knobs on a weekly basis. Catechists and
students will also be directed to wash their hands before entering the atrium and we will be vigilant about avoiding contact with hands and face per CDC guidelines.
Please Note: The Sunday School will remain open until further notice.
In addition, below is a reminder of the steps we are already taking to reduce the spread of the virus (as mentioned in Fr. Philip’s letter on Tuesday)
- The icons, blessing cross and the Epistle and Gospel books will be cleaned thoroughly before and after the divine services (For those who are concerned about veneration, you may simply bow and cross yourself as an alternative).
- We have been advised to limit handshakes and hugging. Therefore, at the time of the kiss of peace, we ask that you simply bow to one another and exchange the greeting “Christ is in our midst.”
- At the dismissal, instead of offering the blessing cross, the priests will distribute the holy bread by hand as you come forward (without the person kissing their hand).
- If you or your children are sick (especially with a cough, shortness of breath or fever), please remain home and contact the church office if you wish to receive the sacraments.
- Hand sanitizer and sanitiz ng,wipes will be available in the Narthex for your convenience.
Please Note: We will not change our way of distributing the Holy Mysteries. It has always been the teaching of the Church that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the medicine of immortality, not a source of disease.
Please continue to pray for those suffering from COVID-19 and for each other during this time. May God bless us all and give us strength during this difficult time!
Rev. Fr. Philip Begley & the St. Panteleimon Committee for Parish Health