Our world is experiencing an uncharted pandemic that is testing even the most advanced healthcare systems.It has reversed the normal rhythm of daily life, and is sowing panic amongst people. Entire countries have been quarantined and citizens are implementing mandatory self-isolation at home. The coronavirus (COVID-19), is an unknown virus. We do not know how to effectively confront it and we are currently unable to cure itwith medicine.We are struggling to efficiently provide assistanceto the growing population of infected persons.
We are, therefore, currently experiencing a challenge which threatens the highest good: the very health and well-being of our fellow citizens. As a result of this, the God-given gift of life is in danger. With the intention of protecting this God-given gift, the Governmental Authorities are taking measures that we are obliged to follow, just as St. Paul encourages in his Epistle to Titus, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good” (3:1).
At this moment,any action that will reduce the spread of this virus is to be considered a “good work” and the highest expression of love for our “neighbor”, who is a temple of the living God. We are, therefore, obliged to join forces with the relevant authorities and to assume our own personal responsibility, guided by the criteria of fulfilling God’s law,thus fully expressed: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another”(Romans 13:8).
Considering, therefore, on the one hand that compliance with the measures announced by the authorities for the protection of health and life is a “good work” fueled by our love for “neighbor”, and on the other hand, understanding that all of our liturgical gatherings above all express our love for God and our fellow human-being, “greater love has no one than this” (John 15:13), we kindly request that you consider the following recommendations:
- Dutifully follow all directions published by the NHS. For more information, please visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
- Those who are considered at“greater risk” in our population, especially anyone above 70 years of age, and those who suffer from underlying illnesses, should limit their social interactions and avoid intermingling with others, especially at popular locations.
- Having the pastoral responsibility to minister to all, we have arranged for the divine services to be broadcasted by London Greek Radio (LGR, 103.3 MHz) and televised on Hellenic TV (www.hellenictv.net), so that a manner of participation in the liturgical life may be offered.
- The local Parishes and Communities, through their respective Trustees and Wardens, are obliged to take care and assure the regular sterilization of the Holy Churches, as well as offer antiseptic cleansers to those entering.
- Those entering the Holy Churches should follow with great caution the suggested measuresconcerning personal hygiene and care.
- The functioning of all our Community Schools, Byzantine Music Schools, Catechetical Schools,Youth Gatherings and every other church organization’s meeting are postponed until further notice.
- All church events celebrating March 25th are cancelled.
London, 16 March 2020
From the Office of the Chancellor