LAST UPDATE: 16:00
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens was successfully operated and he is currently recovering.
Moreover, following the recommendation of his doctors, he was admitted to the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre for elective surgery in the morning. In particular, he had a pacemaker fitted. The operation had been successful and Archbishop of Athens, following his doctors’ instructions, is on the road to recovery. He is expected to be discharged tomorrow.
“We do not stay locked in our houses out of fear, but out of love”
Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens performed on Friday the service of the Akathist Hymn at the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation in Athens.
The Archbishop said that the situation was “unprecedented” considering that the streets were deserted and churches closed. He stressed that we did not stay locked in our houses out of fear, but out of love.
“Now we are given the opportunity to search inside ourselves, to indulge in healthy self-criticism, to evaluate our relationships and our lives. The current situation in churches causes us pain. We regret the fact that we cannot make the most of our spiritual choices in life and that the faithful are not allowed to receive Holy Communion. The ones who made these difficult decisions did it because it was necessary, but they are not happy about it. It was necessary to take these decisions in order to avoid a deterioration of the situation. We’re all facing questions at the moment regarding the closure of churches and the suspension of the celebration of the Divine Liturgy,” he said.
The Archbishop of Athens added, “There are two major issues. On the one hand, there is the first issue of the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and the reception of Holy Communion, and, on the other hand, the issue of the congregation. As regards the first issue, the Church ‘mirrors’ Holy Communion. In other words, it is important to go to church because it is part of our life. The first issue falls under the rules of the Church whereas the second one falls under State responsibility.”
Moreover, he pointed out, “We did not deliberately close our churches. We made such a decision in order to avoid a deterioration of the situation. Such decisions were made several times in the past. In 1854, the islands of Syros and Tinos suffered from an epidemic during the Holy Week. However, people were trying to continue fasting. At the time, the Bishop called on the faithful, through an encyclical, to eat whatever they liked as they were in danger of dying due to the epidemic. The Bishop was not happy about that decision, but he did it out of prudence. This was prudence; people had to stay alive. This is the main objective of the Church. What we are going through right now is temporary, but we need prudence.”
The Archbishop also said that people who recently praised the Church for its significant contribution during the crisis were wondering what the Church was doing at the moment, as it was supposed to be always on the side of the faithful. He also spoke of the decision taken at the Standing Holy Synod, which took place some days ago. According to the decision, the State will have access to all social structures of the Church in order to overcome difficulties. He also called on associates and volunteers to invest their time in helping those in need.
In addition, he thanked doctors, healthcare workers and government officials for their efforts. “We all want to celebrate Easter, but we have to be disciplined,” the Archbishop said. “We will get through this. Have courage! We will emerge victorious from the pandemic!”