Coronavirus Directive

 My beloved flock. I received more correspondence from our Archbishop that has radically revised his
last. Things, as you yourselves know, develop daily. His Eminence, in consultation with the Metropolitan
and the Synod of Bishops, has rescinded the previous directive to administer Holy Communion in
small groups on Palm Sunday, Holy Saturday and PASCHA morning. The danger is just too great
to spread the virus through the air or means OTHER than Holy Communion Itself-even
if we take all the hygienic precautions that are being advised in addition to our shelter-in-place
state mandate; this virus is just too contagious and with fatal consequences for those whose health is
compromised. His Eminence is allowing services of Holy Week to be served only by persons who
are not ill and at each Rector’s discretion and particular situation. In order to minimize risk, that
means preferably by the rector and his family (who are one family unit), but, when not possible, by
one or two members of individual families who are needed to serve and sing (with no more than 4 and
preferably 3, including the Priest). In our case, that means, most ideally, Matushka (as much as
she can, individually), Director Karen (with Scott if his shoulder injury can bear it, because they’re
one family unit), and Peter (where the Archbishop’s directive more suitably fits with he and I
doing a given service). In addition we will employ one of our appointed ushers to watch the front
door. We are not to combine families in the performance of these privileges (no trio of our best
singers from different families, for example) We are also to limit as much as is possible rotating
different persons into the mix. This minimizes the risk of spreading the virus to multiple families. We
are allowed to stream and we have ordered a camera and appointed Mary Mac. as the tech person in
charge of setting that up and supervising. This fits well with the only piece of government information
that we Californians have for churches: that streaming may be done (assuming no larger gatherings,
which are clearly proscribed, and even illegal). This year is unprecedented for our experience
of Lent, Holy Week and Pascha. Several of you have contacted me to tell of how hard this is for
you. Let me assure you that it is very hard for His Eminence to make this decision. As a District
Dean, I am in a closer contact with His Eminence. It is painful! However, I have tried to forward you
reflections from people known to be great spiritual leaders in the Orthodox world that take our disappointment
to a deeper plane and will help us to appreciate this new ’normal’ deeper level.

Streaming– as mentioned above we will be streaming some, but not all of the Services of Holy
Week. Various approaches to this are developing. His Eminence reminded the deans that screen
fatigue is more likely in the context of the lengthy Holy Week Services. In one approach the services
will be shortened to someone around an hour. I’m thinking, health permitting, that there are new
catechumens who are following Lent observantly, without the Divine Services. My thought is to do
the second option and do the Services of the last 3 days- Thursday, Friday and Saturday– along with
PASCHA, somewhat in their integrity. I give all a blessing to take time away from the screen if need-
ed. I don’t want to cause you Migraines.

The Website: www.odox.org. Our website is probably the speediest and easiest way to receive communications
from Fr. Lawrence and the Parish Council.
Please check it regularly. Www.odox.org