Beloved in the Lord,

May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you!

I received the message below from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America which I am sharing with you for further clarification regarding Liturgical services, as directed by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod.

We must remain fervent in our prayers that during this time of great need, He may grant His strength and peace to our suffering world.

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco

Letter from Archbishop Elpidophoros Conveying Liturgical Guidelines of the Ecumenical Patriarchate During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

Your Eminence, 

It is with brotherly joy but also with much agony that I communicate with Your Eminence in these critical and unsettling times, when all of humanity is in turmoil over this sudden pandemic of COVID-19. As Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, I am informing you of the just-issued decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod concerning the pastoral measures which must be taken for the protection of the flock of the Mother Church throughout the world.

Having discussed the situation with the Sacred Center of Orthodoxy, at length, and having inquired specifically about the United States, I received His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s reply, namely, that we should allow for the divine services, including Divine Liturgies, to be celebrated in our Holy Churches behind closed doors, as is the case with the Monasteries. In this way we may be able to keep our liturgical tradition alive, even in this minimal way, but also that we may broadcast through streaming and other means the aforementioned services for the spiritual benefit of our faithful.

Having duly conveyed the above to Your Eminence, I pray for continued strength and resolve as we face this unprecedented and disconcerting situation. With undiminished love in the Lord, and esteem,

New York, March 18, 2020

+Archbishop Elpidophoros of America