The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago announced on Saturday that all liturgical services will be suspended with immediate effect due to coronavirus.
The move follows a decision by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America earlier on Saturday to allow all the Metropolitans of America the flexibility to make the necessary decisions for the protection of the faithful.
In an announcement Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago says he is “obliged to take exceptional measures, no matter how difficult and painful they may be, in order to keep you and your loved ones, as well as our neighbors and communities, safe.”
“All liturgical services in parishes of the Holy Metropolis of Chicago are suspended effective immediately, until further notice,” he stated, before adding that “funerals, baptisms, and weddings will be celebrated with immediate family members in attendance only.”
Moreover, all non-liturgical, in-person religious activities, whether occurring on parish grounds or offsite, are suspended, effective immediately, until further notice. These include, but are not limited to, catechetical classes, Greek language classes, fellowship, youth ministries, lectures, retreats, parish council meetings, social events, Bible studies, athletics, and Philoptochos meetings, Metropolitan Nathanael says.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America did not issue a blanket suspension of liturgical services but instead advised the faithful “in the coming weeks not to be exposed to public places (including church).”
It also gave its blessing “if one chooses, not to be ordained, since such a decision is not sin, but an act of love and responsibility for the protection of both ourselves and our fellow humans. We urge our faithful to participate in the worship of the church at home, by television and other media,” the announcement by the Archdiocese said.