March 16 2020
UPDATED Communique from His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij
regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic
Text from Communique:
TO THE CLERGY AND FAITHFUL OF THE UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF
REGARDING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Glory to Jesus Christ!
“He is my Helper and Protector, and has become my salvation. This is my God and I will glorify Him. My
father’s God and I will exalt Him. For gloriously has He been glorified.” (Exodus 15: 2,1; Psalm 117:14)
Your Graces, Reverend Clergy, Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we begin the Third Week of Great Lent we see our civil authorities on the federal, provincial and municipal levels taking additional steps, declaring states of emergency, passing new laws, adopting new restrictions regarding national and international travel, closing venues of assembly in order to impede the spread of the Coronavirus.
We as a Church must do our part in order to save lives. To do this we must make adjustments, restrictions and suspensions of our rituals, practices, and traditions. It is better to be a day early than a day late, more active than more passive.
Therefore, from the date of this epistle all church services, meetings and activities will cease in churches and on church property of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada until further notice. We realize, that this will probably impact our celebration of Easter and all services before and after.
Our clergy are at the fore-front of maintaining good church order. Should emergencies occur our clergy should be contacted by phone or internet and in extra-ordinary instances the clergy will receive counsel and blessing from their bishop. Funerals will be conducted from the funeral home or chapels at cemeteries (the only exception to these general instructions) in accordance with civil restrictions. Only emergency baptisms will take place according to Orthodox practice. Priests will minister to individuals in seniors and nursing homes, hospitals etc., according to the protocols of these institutions and the understanding of the priest. Priests will deal with situations on the spot according to their training and conscience.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, at this time of interruption of our church services our prayer-life should become more active. Please, look through our prayer-books, “The Good Sheperd”, and others to find more prayers, that can be incorporated into our order of prayers. Orthodox services may be found on television or the internet. Those who receive television broadcasts from Ukraine may also find Orthodox services there. For those, who cannot find these, there are broadcasts of other churches and a pious listening to these would also be beneficial at this time. We must face this crisis in faith and with intelligence and with a readiness to react to the directions given by church, governmental and medical authorities.
May the mercies of our Great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ be with all of you.
With love in Christ,
March 16, 2020