• Amal

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;

Fr. Athanasius

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