NEW YORK: March 14, 2020
Statement by Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America on the spread of the coronavirus
With a sense of weighty responsibility not only for the eternal salvation of men’s souls, but also for the physical health of the clergy, monastics, parishioners, and worshipers of the Russian Church Abroad, I have been attentively following the development of events relating to the spread of the coronavirus, prayerfully beseeching for all God’s aid and the intercession of His Most-Pure Mother.
The current global outbreak of coronavirus dominates the daily headlines, with reports every day of new cases. Nevertheless, the divine services in our churches will continue, and Communion of the clergy and laity will be performed in the usual manner. In everything else, I ask that you undertake reasonable precautionary measures, adhering to common sense and the recommendations of local authorities, in order to preserve the health of the people and arrest the virus’ spread. If you are experiencing symptoms reminiscent of a cold, or if you have spent time with those who are ill, please have consideration for your neighbors, refrain from attending church, and pray at home.
The most important thing in these days is to preserve calm and inner peace, trusting in God. May the Lord help us not only to believe in Him, but also to trust in Him and in His guidance, that we might not lose spirit, and may act with goodly wisdom.
May the Lord keep you!
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad