Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Coronavirus Instructional Letter from Archbishop Peter + St. Vladimir's Response

St. Vladimir Family,

First: have you reached out to your elderly neighbors and friends? Have you talked to your friends from St. Vladimir’s that you know or suspect are lonely during this time of isolation? Please FIRST do that now. THEN read the rest below.


Yesterday His Eminence Archbishop Peter sent an instructional letter to all our diocesan Rectors. You can find that here:


At St. Vladimir’s we are committed to following Vladyka’s instructions at all the Divine Services, but we will also continue to screen all the faithful as we did on Sunday, March 15, 2020. This worked well. As a reminder, the screening questions are:

A. Have you had a persistent cough or fever in the last 7 days?
B. Have you been exposed to anyone with a persistent cough or fever in the last 7 days?

We probably will not screen at every service, but we definitely will on Sunday mornings. If you know that you cannot pass the screening questions please stay home – not just on Sunday morning but for any of the services. God willing we will continue to broadcast all services on our Audio Stream, and most services on our Video Stream. You can find links to both streams here – please remember that the Audio Stream is only on during the Divine Services:


If you are home and want to confess or commune please reach out to me or Fr. Moses. We are happy to visit you. There is no reason you should be deprived of the Grace of the sacraments because you are staying home to stay safe.

The biggest impact on our St. Vladimir’s faithful in light of Vladyka’s letter is the cap of 50 people at any public gathering that is in place in Michigan now. During this pandemic it makes perfect sense to me that each of the faithful will want to partake of Holy Communion at least once per week. This is following the logic of the early Christians who sought to partake essentially daily, since during the persecutions they did not know when they might be called upon to give up their lives for Christ. At St. Vladimir’s we have four Liturgies per week for most weeks of Great Lent. We will do everything we can to keep to that 50 person limit. That means that 200 people could hypothetically commune on any one week if we manage this well. In this regard we have prepared this sign up sheet:


Please sign up for the services that you KNOW you will attend. Please do not sign up for every service “just in case”. That is not fair and it is not kind. And we have to be at least fair and kind to each other during this stressful and spiritually challenging time.

If we reach our 50 person cap at any one service (likely this is just a Sunday concern – at least for now) we will ask number 51+ to move to an overflow area that we will establish outside the church, where folks will be asked to maintain the 6 foot distance per family group. In this overflow area there will be an icon and the services from inside the church will be broadcast using our Audio Stream. Therefore, those in the overflow area will be able to pray along with the community. Those in the overflow area who wish to partake of Holy Communion will be allowed to do so of course. Please approach a screener if you wish to partake and we will have someone from inside the church step outside so that you can enter and commune.

We also need to deal with the confession issue. It is nice to be able to go to confession often during Great Lent with all the services. BUT – confession is our weakest link in our public health efforts. Beginning tonight we are strictly limiting confession to one time per week per parishioner. There will be additional limits on confession most likely (for instance, you might have to write out your sins and hand the letter to the priest while staying out of the confessional). Vladyka is praying about how best to deal with this weak link now. I will share more when he decides how to proceed. For now we can reduce our risk by confessing only once per week and by being BRIEF. One need not share every detail of every sin that one commits every day. If you judge two people in the week you can confess to judging. That will take 2 seconds. You do not need to spend 5 minutes explaining all the issues and feelings around how you judged these two unfortunate souls. :) Yes – there are times we need to go into some detail about our sins, but that should be the exception and not the rule. Any confession that needs to take more than 5 or so minutes should be handled by briefly confessing one’s sins without exquisite detail, making it clear that there is more than needs to be discussed, and making an appointment with the priest you are confessing to. The priests are unquestionably going to be infected with the virus at some point since we will need to care for the sick. That is part of being a priest. But we can keep our priests healthy and working hard for our parish family longer by firming up the weak link of long face to face confessions. Thank you for working with us on this.

Fr. Gregory

P.S. Please support the parish materially now as you are able. There are many fewer people at the Divine Services now and that is good from a Public Health point of view. But our bills have only INCREASED during the pandemic. Please help us by setting up a recurring donation at the link below - you can use your credit card or directly transfer from your bank account:


No comments:

Post a Comment