Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden addressed the faithful and spoke of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. He believes that these are unprecedented days for humanity, something totally new and that we are very emotional due to the negative news and the precautionary measures taken to reduce the spread of the disease.
He emphasises that the Holy Metropolis of Sweden respects the guidelines given by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and does not perform services anymore. “I was at the Cathedral of St. George on Friday of the Akathist Hymn. I was standing in front of the icon of the Virgin Mary on the iconostasis. I was holding my prayer rope. Even though the church was empty, I was not alone. I felt surrounded by a lot of people. I invoked Jesus Christ, our Most Holy Lady, and the saints. They were all present, as well as the people I brought to my mind; our clergy, our flock, the sick, the homeless, the needy, the prisoners, our lonely and abandoned fellow human beings, the doctors, the nurses, the healthcare workers, who are saving many lives, and the researchers, who are trying to find a treatment against the virus.”
He said that, as soon as he said his prayer, he returned to his office. He was looking at the window made of stained glass, which was depicting the Annunciation. Then, he called the clergy of the eparchy to express his support for their struggle. “The virus may have taken us by surprise, but it did not kill us not did it stop us from serving the Church. We will carry on serving the faithful. We are lucky to have the coronavirus, dare I say it, without ignoring the deadly and devastating effects of its transmission worldwide, especially in the areas of health and the economy. Do not get me wrong: I mean that there are some positive aspects. People have become more humane, social and charitable.”
He added, “Life goes on, we still have a vision, we remain optimistic and the Annunciation will be announced as a joyful divine message. Life goes on because He is the resurrection and the life. On the one hand, He advises us to stay home and pray and, on the other hand, to participate in the church services mentally. We are not alone. We can communicate through our thoughts, heart, prayers, wishes. This is the safest way for us humans to communicate with God. Have courage, my brothers and sisters! Happy Easter!”