On Wednesday evening, March 25, 2020 – the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA held ZOOM Video/Teleconference with the clergy of the Church. The call was organized by the Consistory of the UOC of the USA and attended by over 80 active clergy.
During the two-hour conference call, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony had the opportunity to address the clergy directly and took questions on various aspects of the ministry of the Church.
In their remarks, both Metropolitan Antony and Archbishop Daniel (in English and Ukrainian languages) stated to the clergy of the Church:
“…Dear Brothers in service to our Lord!
As your spiritual fathers, the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, we are truly grateful for your dedication to the Word of God. You are courageous DISCIPLERS of our Lord, who are not afraid to serve, to pray and to lead your faithful…
…Our communications to you concerning the pandemic threat to all mankind will continue to come to you in support of your parish ministry and for the good of your faithful spiritual children. We have agonized about each decision we have had to make over the past few weeks and we are still not certain that more will be unnecessary! We completely understand your concern for your faithful and how much it hurts to not permit them to enter your churches for family worship. However, we also understand the threat posed to the faithful should they gather and possibly spread the disease to one another, none of them exhibiting any symptoms of the virus at all. As for most diseases, the worst time to be out and about is during the gestation period after one is infected, which in this case can be more than two weeks in duration.
We are communicating with you in order to let you know that many of our parishes have begun to live stream their Divine Liturgy on Facebook and we hope that you all might consider the same or at least recommending to your faithful that they tune into the live stream on our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Facebook page from St. Andrew Memorial Church on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. They may also tune in to St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary Facebook page for daily prayers from St. Sophia Seminary Chapel at 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. We also suggest that since there may not be any Lenten services during the week, you might consider live streaming those like Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts, Akafists, Sorokousty, Passia and the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete serving, of course, behind closed doors…
…We are praying without ceasing for all of you and cannot wait until the crisis ends to begin once again to visit your parish families. May God in the Holy Trinity continue to guide us all and strengthen us during this horrific epidemic. “The Father is our Hope. The Son is our Refuge. The Holy Spirit is our Protection.” Believe this, dear brothers, and your ministry will continue to be fruitful for all your spiritual children and our Lord…”
During the two hours-long teleconference, a number of priests posed questions to the hierarchs of the UOC of the USA, in a range of various pastoral issues, addressing the guidelines for baptisms, funerals, Holy Unction services, Palm Sunday and Pascha liturgical services, etc.
Although many of the topics could have consumed the entire time of the conference, everyone expressed their joy and satisfaction that the hierarchs of the Church had initiated the video/teleconference, and that this experience of dialogue and solidarity was going to be the first of many.