Please Remember that next Sunday, September 26th, we will offer Fr. Matthew Gilbert’s Five-Year Memorial Service.Fr. Matthew was the former Dean of the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City, UtahThe Very Reverend Archimandrite Chrysostomos Gilbert will preside over the Divine Liturgy and his father’s Memorial Service.A Luncheon hosted by the St. Anna Parish Council will follow, in honor of Fr. Mathew’s Memory and his family who will be in attendance. We welcome back, in particularly, our beloved Presbytera Denise Gilbert. MAY HIS MEMORY BE ETERNAL!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Just last week the Holy Eparchial Synod (The synod of Greek Orthodox Metropolitans in the USA, headed by the Archbishop) met for their annual fall meeting. They put out a communique following the meeting that has garnered much attention around the country. There are many stands and fronts, based on how the world reacts to, combats, and operates within today’s reality of living in a pandemic. Our Ecumenical Patriarch, Archbishop and all of our Metropolitans have been largely united in their efforts to govern the world-wide church in the midst of present realities.
Their messaging has been consistent, their directions have been sound and their aims are to keep our churches and society in general, safe from unnecessary harm or illness.
Some of the statement deals with vaccinations. I have not been asked to write a letter for a religious exemption on receiving the Covid 19 vaccine. For that I am grateful. The statement of the Archbishop tucks that issue into bed nice and securely for me.
But this communique does address something that is tied directly to our liturgical life. Several months ago, you may have noticed that within the divine services of the church, I stopped chanting the petitions that are specific to the pandemic. I figured, we are all getting vaccinated, it is decreasing, we have this handled. Finally, we are on the verge of eliminating this from our daily lives.
Our daily lives are, beyond any reasonable argument, are still affected by the continuing pandemic. More so now, perhaps, than a year ago.
So sadly, as directed by the decree of the Synod, we will be including, once again, the petitions which specifically address our prayers concerning the pandemic.
May our good Lord continue to bless, enlighten, encourage, sustain, inspire and protect us. God is Good. God is Love. God is Light.
BREAKING NEWS – ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE HOLY EPARCHIAL SYNOD
COMMUNIQUE OF THE HOLY EPARCHIAL SYNOD
NEW YORK – On Thursday, September 16, 2021, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America convened a regular meeting of the Holy Eparchial Synod via video conference, in order to deliberate on significant matters that affect the Archdiocese of America.
At the beginning of the meeting, the synodical hierarchs with joy were informed of today’s communique of our Mother Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, that His All-Holiness will indeed make his previously arranged visit to America, without postponement.
Discussing the topic of the vaccination of the faithful, the hierarchs unanimously affirmed that the Church not only permits vaccinations against diseases (e.g. polio, smallpox), but that She encourages Her Faithful, after medical tests and approbations, to be vaccinated with the approved vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
In addition, although some may be exempt from the vaccination for clear medical reasons, there is no exemption in the Orthodox Church for Her faithful from any vaccination for religious reasons, including the coronavirus vaccine. For this reason, letters of exemption for the vaccination against the coronavirus for religious purposes issued by priests of the Archdiocese of America have no validity, and furthermore, no clergy are to issue such religious exemption letters for any reason.The Holy Eparchial Synod urges the faithful to pay heed to competent medical authorities, and to avoid the false narratives utterly unfounded in science and perpetrated on the Church by those who have succumbed to the disinformation and conspiracy theories that are widely available on social media sites.
The Synod also re-affirmed that the following two petitions continue to be included in “The Litany of Peace” of the Divine Liturgy and the other sacred services:
“For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger and necessity, and from the peril of the coronavirus against us, let us pray to the Lord.”
“For our brethren, those who lead the fight against the coronavirus, the doctors, the medical workers and the scientists, let us pray to the Lord.”
Finally, the Holy Synod with gratitude was informed that the Sacred Archdiocese was appointed as beneficiary of the late Suzanne Mados, who provided in her will a generous donation for the Greek Orthodox Schools of the Archdiocese as well as to the St. Michael’s Home for the Aged. It was decided that an Archepiscopal memorial service for the repose of her soul will be conducted by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America during the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, September 18, at the Church of the Transfiguration of the Savior in Corona, New York.
FROM THE CHIEF SECRETARIATE OF THE HOLY EPARCHIAL SYNOD
With Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony Savas