The Corona pandemic

The recent events of the Corona pandemic can be overwhelming for most of us. With every crisis also comes opportunity for reevaluation, for reflection of our way of life and of our general mindset. Undoubtedly the current situation has highlighted our greed, rushing to buy dozens of ‘essentials’ without necessarily thinking of our fellows needs. Circulating on social media was a picture of a starving child followed by the following statement : ‘ 1.5 million die of starvation but since it is not contagious we are not interested.’ There are elements of truth in such thoughts and reflections and this pandemic could be, in some ways, a harsh reminder of our egocentric lifestyles and world-views.

However, along-with this rather dark and testing period, has come forth a realisation and sense of humanity’s unity, mutual concern for the human person, need for cooperation amongst political, religious and social spheres, and the fundamental truth that we are all here to care for one another. If, at the human being’s epicentre was the ‘survival of the fittest,’ then why would the young generation be willing to sacrifice everything for those more vulnerable and in need of care?

In such circumstances we see how unnatural and contrary to our being that any form of unjust suffering, death, deprivation and lack of peace is to humanity. It is in our God-given human nature to desire to bear the cross of our fellow, to assist in times of need, to put our own will to the side for the health and wellbeing of others, to pray to our creator for His protection and love; to share in the foretaste of His eternal kingdom:

‘Finding constant inspiration in this expectation and foretaste of the Kingdom of God, the Church cannot remain indifferent to the problems of humanity in each period. On the contrary, she shares in our anguish and existential problems, taking upon herself—as the Lord did—our suffering and wounds, which are caused by evil in the world and, like the Good Samaritan, pouring oil and wine upon our wounds through words of patience and comfort (Rom 15:4; Heb 13:22), and through love in practice. The word addressed to the world is not primarily meant to judge and condemn the world (cf. Jn 3:17; 12:47), but rather to offer to the world the guidance of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God—namely, the hope and assurance that evil, no matter its form, does not have the last word in history and must not be allowed to dictate its course.’ ( The Mission of the Orthodox Church in Today’s World: Holy & Great Council )

With this reminder – that our efforts of care, of brotherly love and protection, of sacrifice and patience, are natural responses to God’s calling to humanity – may we prayerfully seek His strength, His mercy and healing in testing and painful times.

Ἐμπνεομένη διαρκῶς ἀπό τήν προσδοκίαν καί τήν πρόγευσιν τῆς Βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἡ Ἐκκλησία δέν ἀδιαφορεῖ διά τά προβλήματα τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τῆς ἑκάστοτε ἐποχῆς, ἀλλά, ἀντιθέτως, συμμετέχει εἰς τήν ἀγωνίαν καί τά ὑπαρξιακά προβλήματά του, αἴρουσα, ὅπως ὁ Κύριός της, τήν ὀδύνην καί τάς πληγάς, τάς ὁποίας προκαλεῖ τό κακόν εἰς τόν κόσμον καί ἐπιχέουσα, ὡς ὁ καλός Σαμαρείτης, ἔλαιον καί οἶνον εἰς τά τραύματα αὐτοῦ (Λουκ. ι’, 34) διά τοῦ λόγου «τῆς ὑπομονῆς καὶ παρακλήσεως» (Ρωμ. ιε’, 4, Ἑβρ. ιγ’, 22) καί διά τῆς ἐμπράκτου ἀγάπης. Ὁ λόγος της πρός τόν κόσμον ἀποβλέπει πρωτίστως ὄχι εἰς τό νά κρίνῃ καί καταδικάσῃ τόν κόσμον (πρβλ. Ἰωάν. γ’, 17 καί ιβ’, 47), ἀλλά εἰς τό νά προσφέρῃ εἰς αὐτόν ὡς ὁδηγόν τό Εὐαγγέλιον τῆς Βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ, τήν ἐλπίδα καί βεβαιότητα ὅτι τό κακόν, ὑπό οἱανδήποτε μορφήν, δέν ἔχει τόν τελευταῖον λόγον εἰς τήν ἱστορίαν καί δέν πρέπει νά ἀφεθῇ νά κατευθύνῃ τήν πορείαν της. (Η Αποστολή της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας εν τω Συγχρόνω Κόσμω: Η Αγία και Μεγάλη Σύνοδος)