By Nick Stamatakis
I truly have a hard time finding where to start with this issue. Below you can see the three pages of directives the Archdiocese issued for re-opening the Churches in New York… The “memo” they wanted to hide from the faithful…
- Why don’t they have the courage, sincerity and conviction to share these directives with the faithful? Why are they stressing that “This is a memo for clergy and should not under any circumstance be posted, shared or copied to email or social media”? Are they so idiotic to believe that these directives would stay hidden in the background? This is not Turkey, AB Elpidophoros… Nobody is afraid of your authority… And why not share it with the faithful if you are so convinced that these directives are expressing the eternal values of our faith?
- Why do your directives seem to provide harsher “distancing” and other rules for our churches than any supermarket or Walmart or liquor store? Ten people per Church and 100 for each supermarket, even though our Churches are usually bigger, more spacious and 10 times cleaner than any commercial establishment and certainly most supermarkets?
- As for the rules for receiving Holy Communion (page 3), one could write a whole book… The temporary nature of the measures is understandable. But the so-called “leadership” should also understand that they are leading the Church of Christ and not a teenager’s soccer club. The Church of Christ has been (during the last thousand years) through numerous pandemics, and countless other events such, natural disasters, wars, catastrophes… The rules of giving Holy Communion did not change through all these pandemics and catastrophes… Yet in the times of Bartholomew and Elpidophoros everything is negotiable, everything is for sale. IF THEY WERE NOT SURE ABOUT THEIR FAITH IT WOULD BE BETTER TO POSTPONE GIVING HOLY COMMUNION FOR 2-3 MONTHS AND IN THE MEANTIME ALLOW IT ONLY TO THOSE DYING… That way they would avoid watering down such important elements of faith and reducing them to such a level where they have lost much of their meaning…. (Please see here what one of the most enlightened Orthodox leaders of our time, Metropolitan of Mesogaias Nikolaos, has said about this issue).
- When will the so-called “leaders” of the Church plan to speak up to the secular authorities? They did not speak up to the “baby-killer” politicians like Andrew Cuomo, they do not speak up now, when the Church of Christ is reduced to rubble…
- I would not insist on the subject anymore if it was not clear that all these “baby steps” by Bartholomew and company, by Pope Francis and others are leading us to a Globalist Pan-Religion… We will present these “baby” and “larger” steps soon… It is obvious to all that nothing is unintentional in this pandemic… We are living the biggest irony of all: We are watching the leader of secular authorities today, President Trump, to urge the opening of the churches around the country in a way that is fair and equitable with other establishments, while our Church leaders minimize the efforts for re-opening the churches to levels lower than liquor stores… In a few months there will be no Church for them to lead… You can see it here in .pdf format GOA PREPARATION FOR OPENING THE CHURCHES AND HOLY COMMUNION
This is unbelievable! They are trying to dissolve our faith… what happened to the first amendment separation of church and state?
I am no fan of your GOA, the Phanar or archbishop elpidophoros but as a health professional I am tired of ignorance and chosen facts presented for convinience. And the level of ignorance shown by many USA politicians. . Or willful ignorance which truly evil.
I am not going to get into the conspiracy lunatic asylumn of all this as i leave lunacy to the lunatic of which you Americans seem to have many. And in fairness not only amongst the religious. I will explain just the facts.
1/ How the Church and society dealt with infection centuries ago is really nor relevent to now because until the 19th century, the bacterial and viral causes of pandemics were not clearly understood by the science of the day, as it is now, nor the way they were spread .
Although it has to be said their common sense alone told them, distancing the ill from the healthy was a good thing which they did. And that in some way( by the miasna in the air ) contact spread it.
Thus receiving Communion and icon veneration etc did not seem so obviously connected to threat of contagion although in 18th Moscow during a small pox epidemic, the actual kissing of icons etc was banned by the then Metropolitan of Moscow . Much to the opposition of the faithful.
2/ This coronavirus pandemic is thank God ‘ relatively mild, compared to others in that many ( although they may be lethal in spreading it) show little illness and children seem to be spared. However it must be said not all, and across the board those with chronic illness, sadly widespread from western unhealthy life style, are at risk along with older folks.
And this virus causes death in an especially nasty way as witness the experience of those exposed. I have friends and colleagues still working who have told me of their experience. And who have died. And open yr eyes to the sad facts of Span and Italy and Uk. Let alone Brazil.
Why is it that the death rate in many countries thst took earlier strict precautions, is much,much,much lower than that of USA??? Viruses are not political you know nor is medical science.
And no this is not influenza because we do not have a cure, ie vaccination that can protect us and we do not even know how long any immunity might last. And in gaining so called herd immunity many will die. Not nameless faces but yr family members., U, ME.!
2/ The Archdiocese has to be very cautious because in yr litigation mad society there will be those who will take it to court claiming it was negligent so has to cover every corner .
3/ In Russia and Ukraine where government and many faithful forced the churches to remain open until too late. they are now paying the price in deaths of clergy and monks and nuns and seminarians and illness.
4/ Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ but at same time Bread and Wine that is Subject to the rules of this nature here. We are not dualists, nor does the Church fall into to dualism. Yes I believe with faith that Communion is for salvation of my body amd soul BUT THAT IS WITH AND FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF ETERNAL LIFE, it is not a talisman like magic to keep me ok in this one. Nor are the Icons and relics. THE PRESENCE OF God operates within the physical reality we have including illness.
If people want a God as a magician and sacraments as magic, i suggest they get a new religion.
Crowding in churches during a pandemic is an acute danger in spreading it, and the mode of giving Communion with common Spoon etc is a risk. That people have not been infected from this? We simply do not know as no research has been done. Although my feeling is it is not so much the receiving of Communion but being crowded together that brings the infection.
God does not spare those gathered in churches while killing the rest as it were, as history shows.. If this is one’s primitive idea of God reduced to magician in the sky, than it’s time to grow up. God may show us a miracle but we don’t demand it as If God is in our pocket as some divine insurance policy. That is not a viable faith to hand to yr children and is blasthemy.
As Bartholomaios said and I am a big critic of his, but his words about NOT the Faith being in danger but the faithful, are so true.
GOD is a God of love. He desires we save life, not end it. The ending is for God and our natural span of life. Our Faith is shown by love and concern for our fellow human beings day in and day out. The believers in rirualism, in their ritualism,church, will find thst a disapointment I know and accusing me of lack of faith, modernism and what ever else they wish. LET THEM. Jump up and down, It will do them good!!
As a historical point the liturgy of St James has Communion in the hand as early christians practice. The means of Communion is not set in stone. As we know Christ did not use a Spoon did he. In thst respect the western way is nearer to Christ than we are.
And finally I would add we all stand here because vaccination has wiped out contagious disease that routinely killed millions especially children as witnessed by walking round any old grave yard.
Science, the knowledge of physical reality is a gift of God. Ignorance of the devil.
I was not expecting a different approach from any scientist (exeptions are very rare).
His problem is “LACK OF FAITH “. Many people struggle because of lack of faith.
Apostle Paul exhorts Christians to “walk by faith and not by sight”, what we see here is
a contrast between truth and perception. What we know and believe to be true. This is where
Scientists and some Christians struggle with a lack of faith finds its basis. The main reason
why many scientists and some Christians struggle with a lack of faith is that they follow their own
perceptions of what is true than what we know to be true by faith. No matter who we are without strong faith we are
zero. Faith is the spiritual force that turns blood into the heart and gives us life.
1) Nobody has objected to good sanitary and distancing rules during this mild pandemic (it seems milder and milder with every day and every set of new facts that we learn about it). On the opposite, the faithful did use their common sense throughout and are willing to keep doing it. All of us humans are endowed with basic survival instincts…
2) This is not a contest in science facts – which most of us who graduated high school understand – but a test of our faith. Here is how the ultimate “scientist”, Metropolitan Mesogaias Nikolaos, whose scientific credentials very few medical professionals can match, responded to the issue of giving holy communion during the pandemic – where he suggested, “using judgement”, to even increase giving holy communion to the faithful to support and sustain their faith…
3) We can appreciate empirical facts and this is why we pay attention to the many intentional aspects of this “mild” pandemic. Even the fact that we now call it “mild”, while two months ago all the bright “scientific” minds were telling us this was the end of the world, should give us pause about the goals of those who peddled the tremendous panic that destroyed many aspects of our life… And should also give us pause on the power of “science”… In a few more weeks, the same bright scientists will analyze for all of us to see that the “numbers of those who died because we closed our hospitals to any other disease treatment are much bigger, plus the deaths of depression, alcoholism, suicide etc., will be much, much bigger than the deaths of COVID-19”…
4) There is no point to discuss the “holy communion” issue if we do not understand that our Orthodox Faith classifies it as a “mystery”, meaning essentially that a miracle of faith is being performed at the time of the ritual, as we share the Body and Blood of Christ. We cannot have an intellectually honest conversation if we examine the Holy Communion under our scientific microscope, using empirical facts. There is a reason why we are called to receive it “with a Fear of God, Faith and Love…”
5) Since our Church started using the chalice and spoon method of administering the Holy Communion (sometime in the 7th-8th century AD if my historical facts are correct) there has never, not once, been observed or reported any “infection event” during the ritual, which never ceased being administered under any pandemic – and some of them were much more infectious. The current scientific facts are well understood for about two centuries… But again, this is not about science…
6) Priests have been forever recording their “empirical” testimonies of “non infection” by the Holy Communion in hospitals and elsewhere. I will only refer to one example – among the thousands. During my recent visit to the Lasithi area of Crete, the locals still remembered the priest of the “leprosy island”, Spinalonga, father Chrysanthos Katsoulogiannakis, who had been giving and sharing the Holy Communion, at a time when there was any therapy, for over ten years without ever being infected…
7) Giving and receiving the Holy Communion is a voluntary act of faith. The biggest enemy of Faith is doubt. Doubt acts like a virus, and a very potent one. It infects first the Priests and the Hierarchy of the Church. What will be left if we reduce the Holy Communion to “a visit to a doctor’s office”, with disinfected spoons and the rest? I will tell you exactly what will be left: A Church resembling a country club and a holy liturgy identical to the faithless “Blue Dream” social event Karloutsos is annually performing in the Hamptons. There is a difference between “magic” and “Faith”, as faith entails accepting the holiness of Christ.
8) Again, this is a voluntary act: Christ called “the willing” to follow and never forced anyone… Other religions did, however, use force, namely Catholicism and Islam and with these religions Bartholomew, the Pope and others are now ready to “unite” in their efforts first for “Ecumenism” and later for a Global Pan-religion (Please take a look at this planned “Abrahamic Family House” in Abu Dhabi – we will come back to these issues later).
Thank you Nick for educating the ignorant. If anyone believes that holy communion causes the spread of disease they need to come forward and show their scientific proof or look for a new religion. They need to stop trying to convince the faithful. Like you said anyone that chooses not to receive is their choice but they have no right to force their beliefs on others and prevent the faithful from receiving.
I am glad to see some of our Greek brothers standing up to this nonsense, may the Serbs and other Slavs follow your example here.
Horrible and disgusting. When he visited our parish I “sized” him up well. I am a retired law enforcement agent with just under 40 years of service. Well trained in numerous subjects including instructing in body language. I am no saint but I love my faith and people. I speak 3 languages and I am no punk dummy. My point to all this is that he is a snake. I do not trust him and he was sent here to destroy our churches from within. I forecast that he will not last long here in the U.S. Go back to his hole and hide behind Mr. Barts dress asking him for forgiveness for not being successful in the Global plans. Shame. ESXOS.
Thank you for standing up for the truth.