Saturday, May 15, 2021

Truly good news from Antioch!

(Antiochian) - Good News from His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH

May 14, 2021 

Christ is Risen! 

​I pray you and your parishes had a blessed Pascha and Bright Week. In light of the announcement by the CDC yesterday saying that people who have been vaccinated no longer need to wear masks and social distance, whether indoors or outdoors, and in light of the reality that most every adult who wants to be vaccinated has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, we are lifting all requirements to wear masks and social distance in our churches in the United States of America. Nevertheless, those who choose to continue wearing masks in the church should not be discouraged IN ANY WAY from doing so. The only thing we ask is that if you have any high risk people in your parishes who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons that you make every effort to accommodate them by having a small area of the church, where they can still social distance and wear masks, set aside in order for them to feel safe. 

Additionally, in light of the new CDC recommendations, choirs, church schools, coffee hours and social functions, hall rentals, meetings, etc. may also resume as each parish determines it is the appropriate time, but no later than the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year in September. For those parishes needing to move more slowly, we ask that you implement the changes in the sanctuary immediately, and then slowly transition with the other items mentioned above. Of course, our parishes in Canada continue to be restricted by the civil authorities and we pray we will have the same good news for them in the near future. 

Wishing you and all the faithful a blessed Paschal season, I remain, 

Your Father in the Risen Lord, 


Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America​


  1. What is really good news is there is not even a hint of a vaccine mandate

  2. Continue to be pleasantly surprised by their official and private responses, locally they were among the first to quietly disregard the lockdown nonsense and go back to normal with the understanding that lawyers would be brought to bear if necessary (never proved to be thank God). And now this.

    Sadly I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the consequences of this hysteria or various responses to it.

    It begs to question; if your church chose to close its doors because of the chance of getting sick, with a less than 1% chance of dying. Or even, at the most extreme exaggeration and inaccurate early guesses, 4%.

    And required masks, halted the veneration of icons, relics, and crosses. Stopped normal communion practices etc.

    What will be different next flu season? People will be getting sick and dying every year. COVID will still exist.

    Vaccines can’t stop the flu or else we wouldn’t have the flu anymore. Not to mention the far more deadly viruses that exist in the world like influenza etc. And again, all this was done so that “even just one life might be saved”.

    What do you tell a parishioner who has been terrified this entire time, to convince them that they don’t need to live stream the liturgy for the rest of their lives?

    After all, if it’s been okay this whole time, why isn’t it okay going forward?

    I say all this not because I’m looking for arguments, but simply because I can already see how many arguments there will be between couples and priests etc.

  3. Sojourner, the only total shut down we had in my Antiochian parish was in the early months. Restricted access for months. Last week, full choir and altar servers unmasked. Clergy have always served unmasked. We have always been a don't lick the spoon in receiving communion. We are back with no restrictions, unfortunately many still wear the mask. Some husbands and wives are split. You called it correctly when you labeled it hysteria. That still reigns especially among doctors. God forgive us