“The God of Christians is a rightful God, a God of mercy, compassion and charity,” says Archimandrite Zacharias from Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex.
As he points out in his words of consolation regarding the coronavirus pandemic, which was published on the official website of the Metropolis of Belgium, “due to the global threat coronavirus, many people are confused and others are in panic. But I think that should not be the case because what God does for us does it out of love.”
He says, “All that God did, when He created us, when He provided for the preservation of the world, when He prepared His coming to earth, when He Himself came and worked for our salvation, all these acts were rightful.
Some fear that the time of their end has arrived. This scourge has a positive side, too, because we have a few weeks from the time it assails us until our end. Therefore, we can devote time to prepare for our meeting with God, so that we will not meet our end unexpectedly or unprepared, but after passing our life through our prayer before God.
We must see the goodness of God in all that happens. The Fathers saw His loving kindness. A similar epidemic occurred in the 4th century in the desert of Egypt, which killed more than a third of the monks, and the Holy Fathers were very inspired to say, “God sows saints’ souls for His Kingdom,” and they were far from being disturbed.
So there is no room for morbid frustration. We should not oppose the measures taken by the state in order to protect people from suffering. It is wrong to go against the authorities of every country. We have to comply with what the government is saying because they are not asking us to renounce our faith, they are just asking us to take a few measures for the common good so that we can overcome this difficulty. This is not absurd. Some take it very confessionally, setting up flags and playacting as the martyrs and confessors. Undoubtedly, we will obey the government’s decision. It is unfair not to do what the government says because when we get sick, we rush to their hospitals and they take care of all the expenses. Why should not pay attention to what they say?
If we are asked to stop our liturgies, let us just give in and bless the Providence of God. In any case, what God permits in our lives is rightful for the benefit of the human being. God would never harm His creature.
This reminds us of an old tradition that the Fathers observed in Palestine. During the Great Lent, more specifically on Cheesefare Sunday, also known as the Sunday of Forgiveness, they went into the wilderness for forty days without attending the Divine Liturgy. They kept on fasting and praying to prepare their return on Palm Sunday in order to celebrate the Lord’s Passion and His Resurrection. Therefore, the circumstances lead us to relive the tradition that once existed within the Holy Church. We can live more hesychastically, that is, with more prayer, which will also compensate for the lack of Divine Liturgy and prepare us to commemorate with greater passion and inspiration the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.
Of course, if we are deprived of the Divine Liturgy for longer, we can endure it. What do we receive during the Divine Liturgy? We receive the Body and Blood of Christ that are full of His grace. This is a great honor and benefit for everybody, but we can receive the grace of the Lord in many other ways.
If there are no celebrations of Easter Week at the church, we shall remember that every contact with Christ is Easter. We receive the grace during the Divine Liturgy because Jesus is present, and He is the One who performs the mystery and imparts Himself to the faithful.
So, if we are to necessarily avoid the gatherings, we can be united in spirit and in these sacred virtues that are known in the Body of Christ, that is, the Holy Church, and maintain the unity of believers with Christ and with all the members of His Body. All that we do for God is Liturgy for they minister unto our salvation.”