Wednesday, March 18, 2020

EP churches shutting down worldwide

Phanar, 18 March 2020
From the Chief Secretariat
of the Holy and Sacred Synod

(EP) - As this Coronavirus crisis continues to spread and intensify on a global scale, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is monitoring the situation with an urgent sense of responsibility towards its faithful and all people without exception, and, following the Communiqué of 11 March 2020, upon deliberation of its Hierarchs in the City, announces the following:

1) The Ecumenical Patriarchate emphatically reiterates its appeal to everyone to limit their outings and travels to what is necessary, remaining in their homes for their own safety and the protection of the general public.

2) It commends the spirit of self-sacrifice demonstrated by those working in the field of healthcare and expresses its gratitude for their extraordinary and exhaustive efforts to assist those in need, as well as for the danger they knowingly risk by coming in contact with those infected by Covid-19.

3) It underlines the need for everyone to follow the decisions and instructions of the responsible health authorities for the sake of the common good.

4) In light of decisions already taken by some eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne, today we universally declare our ecclesiastical resolution and mandate to cease all divine services, events, and rites, with the exception of private prayer in churches that will remain open, until the end of March. This restriction will be later reassessed, in accordance with the development of the pandemic caused by the virus.

5) All Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monasteries will continue to hold regular divine services for their monastic communities, but outside pilgrims and visitors will not be permitted entry.

6) In the same framework, the Patriarchal Offices at the Phanar will remain closed until further notice, while the Ecumenical Patriarch and clergy of the Patriarchal Court will perform the prescribed divine services and pray for the whole world and for its speedy relief from this trial.


  1. Giving up Orthodoxy for Lent, well played

    1. Let's all have another go at the prayer of St. Ephraim. :)

  2. Our our sheepherders have abandoned the sheep in the wilderness, how very not different than Protestants or Catholics.

  3. Stalin had to use dynamite and gulags to silence the Church. All it took this time was a virus.

  4. I guess meant of us are imitating St Zosimas' monastery this lent

    1. I have to be honest, that explanation for banning the liturgical life is quite unsatisfying and lack luster, I’ve heard better explanations, tho I’m still happy to be at a church in WA that isn’t giving up services.

      We’re not monks going out into the desert to take up an extreme asceticism, and notice even then they kept the church open and the liturgical life constant.

      The government hasn’t banned small services, so why are some hierarchs going beyond even government orders and shutting down all worship? That’s extreme even by government and CDC standards.

      I would much rather see parishes cycling through services with 10 people at a time than no services period.

      Thank God monasteries aren’t making excuses or over reacting and stopping their services.

      Banning priests from serving in the safety of their homes with their families is unprecedented in all of Church history.

      St. Zosimas’ monastery never gave up Pascha, but that’s what’s about to happen for those who are under hierarchs that are over reacting.

      I can only hope that in a few months the hierarchs will reflect on this and see the over reactions as such and handle the next flu season with a more balanced hand, but again thankfully the over reaction has not been universal among hierarchs or clergy.

      Our services will continue as long as our clergy are able to serve, thank God.

    2. I appreciated the article Matuhska.

  5. Fortunately, it seems that most EP churches are continuing closed Services with an internet stream (if possible). So the Liturgy is still being served, Glory to God.

  6. Yes, Sojourner. It is heartbreaking. At a time when the people need the Body and Blood of Christ more than anything...for the healing of both soul and body...our hierarchs have shut us out. They will answer to God for this.