Metropolitan Anthimos of Alexandroupolis called on the faithful to stay at home because of the coronavirus.
As he pointed out, “The number of coronavirus cases is increasing in our country. Many of our fellow human beings are carriers of the germ. Therefore, I beg you to stay all locked in your homes. It is an issue concerning all of us and especially young children and pupils. Let us follow the guidelines of our Government to the letter, which are concerning all our country. We need to comply with the protocols given to us by government officials and scientists. Indifference to the application of the orders and irresponsible behaviour, such as walking on the streets with no reason and meeting other people, could lead vulnerable fellow human beings to death. This would be a burden to the soul.”
He also asked the faithful to limit their visits to churches. “It seems strange to ask you to do so, but this is God’s will for the sake of us all. Do not have any doubts or guilt about your abstention. Please continue loving God and your fellow human beings by praying at home. Piety is an infinite virtue. But Listen! You must not say ‘I will go to church and God will protect me!’ Christians are not allowed to boast about sacred mysteries and God’s power. And what if God wants to test our faith, as he did with Job? The ‘benefits’ that we receive every day from the Lord are so many and, therefore, we must not deny His tests, sickness, and death.”
Moreover, the Metropolitan announced that churches will be operating only on Sunday morning from 9 am to 10 am for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. There will only be one priest and one chanter. He also urged the faithful to “convert” their own homes into churches so as to stay in constant touch with God.
“Let us stay home and pray. Let us abstain from the Sacred Liturgies until God’s test comes to an end. Then, we will have time to make up for not going to church. Listen to me, please! I feel deeply hurt by my speech but this is what we must do and what God wants us to do,” he concluded.