In a letter to the clergy, the monastic brotherhoods and the faithful of the Metropolis, Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand sends his message and provides instructions for the support and spiritual strengthening of the faithful.
As he points out, the never before encountered and unusual circumstances, including the restriction on movements and our contacts with others, the closing of the churches and chapels and the suspension of the religious services make us face an untenable and challenging situation.
However, he stresses that we should not remain without action and response. “Our priority is not to jeopardise the health of our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, and those dearest to us —even the entire community and nation.
The Metropolitan urges the faithful and the priests not to lose their faith nor their courage. “Now is the time to transform our homes into churches,” he says.
He underlines that in this effort and during this holy period the technology through the broadcasts on television or the internet of our Sacred Services can provide substantial assistance as we wait for the cessation of this trial and the opportunity to return to our churches and our regular church attendance.
Read the full announcement issued by Metropolitan Myron of New Zealand
Wellington 1st of April 2020
To the Clergy, the Monastic Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods and the reverent plentitude of the Holy Metropolis of New Zealand (Fiji, Tonga, Samoa)
Beloved siblings and children in the Lord,
I am devoutly praying for you, setting my hope on our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Saviour of our life, that you and yours have health of body, soul and mind.
We continue the journey of Holy and Great Lent and soon we will be at the threshold of Great and Holy Week which brings us to the empty tomb of the Resurrection of Our Lord. This much is certain.
The never before encountered and unusual circumstances in which we live, which include the restriction of our travel, our contacts with others, the closing of our sacred churches and chapels and the suspension of our Sacred Services brings us all to an untenable and challenging situation. According to the forecast of the Governments and International Organizations, it seems likely that the present state of affairs will continue for a few more weeks perhaps months.
It distresses and pains us all, however, this doesn’t mean that we will remain without action and response. Our priority is not to jeopardise the health of our brothers and sisters, our neighbors, and those dearest to us —even the entire community and nation.
This is a situation, a circumstance that we must learn to live through with patience hope and prayer. We won’t lose our faith! We won’t lose our courage! This is a time for us to put a greater weight, a more focused significance, on our personal prayer life, on our personal communication with God! We mustn’t stop talking with him! We mustn’t stop glorifying and doxologizing him! We mustn’t stop thanking him! We mustn’t stop entreating him! Now is the time to transform our homes into churches!
In this effort and during this holy period we have the assistance of technology, of broadcasts over television or the internet of our Sacred Services, services which are being held in Orthodox Churches all over the world!
Naturally, watching the Sacred Services over the internet or on television cannot replace our personal prayer, nor does it ever, in any way, fulfil our participation in the Sacred Mysteries of our Church, in the Divine Liturgy, and the receiving of the Sacred Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, it is simply a consolation, an assistance (it cannot be the same in essence) as we wait for the cessation of this trial and the opportunity to return to our churches and our regular and soul-enriching Church attendance.
Throughout the duration of this crisis and during these holy days, our priests throughout New Zealand and Oceania will serve the Sacred Services for the sanctification of our land and her people the without for the time being the presence of our faithful.
In conclusion, we would like to express our boundless gratitude which we feel for all those in the health field who work in support of our good health during this critical time until we resume undeterred our Community and Communal life.
Praying and beseeching our Lord Jesus Christ and with much love,
+ M Y R O N of New Zealand