The WCC interviewed the Archbishop of Tirana and all Albania, who talked about the current situation and the coronavirus pandemic. He also spoke of the way churches in Albania and around the world are adjusting to the situation.
The Archbishop pointed out,”Churches can emphasise our duty to stay at home while at the same time, freeing ourselves from fear and anxiety. We must find ways to assist the sick directly or indirectly, as we prepare for Easter, and open our hearts to the light of hope.”
Archbishop Anastasios referred to the way the Church of Albania deals with the spread of the coronavirus. He stressed, “We addressed our people (on 12 March and 17 March 2020) insisting that we must avoid panic, depression, and despair. We announced that we were cancelling all services in our churches, and we advised that the people avoid the traditional embraces, kissing of holy objects in the church, kissing of hands, and any physical contact. Every Sunday as well as on Great Feasts, we celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the chapel of the Synodical Center with closed doors. We advised those who are more susceptible, the elderly and children, to remain at home for a period of time. The churches will remain open during the day for personal prayer.”
Moreover, he added, “We must emphasise our duty to remain at home according to the directives of the government and the healthcare authorities. We have to stop travels and circulation. Let us be vigilant that these measures do not lead to personal isolation. On the contrary, let us strengthen each other with courage, prayer, words, simple acts, silence full of affection; especially towards those who are at greater risk.”
Archbishop Anastasios spoke of the countries that had prohibited gatherings of people and said that the faithful had the opportunity to watch the services on Television of churches, which had adequate technological means. In the meantime, he added that Sunday schools would be broadcast online.
Finally, he said, “As we are in the period of preparation for Easter, we must increase this confidence in His presence and in the fact that He will not abandon us in our trial. This year we shall not be able to transmit the Paschal light from candle to candle – as is the custom of the Orthodox Churches. Let us transmit from heart to heart the light of hope and fearlessness in our Risen Lord.”
Source: World Council of Churches