Face Masks And Social Distancing
My dear family in Christ, after listening to your thoughtful concerns about public
worship and the possible contraction of the Virus through public assembling I have
decided to require all attendees at the divine worship to wear face masks along with
keeping social distancing. I have not come to this decision lightly. I had to take into
consideration the few in our parish that believe it is totally a hoax and not necessary, and
the majority who do not. I had to weigh this with the fact that the church is not a
democracy where majority rules, And neither an I an autocrat where I force my beliefs not
bound by church dogma upon all.
My decision really for me came down to, as it always does in the Orthodox Faith what
serves the most good? If the Virus is as communicable as many in the scientific
community say it is, and if one could be a carrier of it without knowing, does it not stand
to reason, that for the love of each of our parishioners one should wear a mask? Some of
our church members do not attend worship because masks are not worn by all. For their
sake, as well as our own is wearing a mask too much to ask?
In saying this, I find myself among the few who doubt that face masks are as effective
against the Virus as we are informed by the “experts” but in reflecting upon this I find it to
be based on my particular opinion which should not be the deciding factor as noted above.
In America we think of the ultimate value of individual freedom, and choice; we do not
like to submit to authority. It is in our genes. but in the Orthodox Church we are called to
lay aside this value for the good of all. Last Sunday in the Social Hall many were at the
same table without Social distancing or masks, and I sat down with them, and I know we
all felt good experiencing our resistance to authority, But is this the statement we as
Orthodox Christians desire to make: no submission to authority? The Orthodox Church has
always followed, with few exceptions, the precept laid down by St. Paul: “Everyone
must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except
that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established
by God.” Romans: 13:1) May the Lord have mercy upon all of us and protect us from
from this Corona Virus.
In the love of Christ;