OCU receives an urgent letter from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
The letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch refers to the method of presenting the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also known that Patriarch Bartholomew also sent similar letters to other Primates of Local Autocephalous Churches.
In his letter, the Ecumenical Patriarch explains the reason for his decision to hold services in all the churches of the Patriarchate in the absence of believers.
"Being guided by the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, to protect the health of the faithful and the common good, we decided that the performance of worship services will take place without the believers being present in the temples, and the primary concern is to preserve the faith of our Fathers, which illuminates the universe," the letter reads.
However, due to the emergence of various, sometimes controversial thoughts about the acceptance of Holy Communion by the faithful, Patriarch Bartholomew notes that he cannot stand aside from such an ambiguous situation.
“We heed to the persistent recommendations of health services and governments, and follow them, but only until the essence and focus of our faith are concerned. The patience of the Church reaches the Cross. Still, it denies the deviation from it, the subjugation of the power of this world, which questions the Sacrament of the sacraments, its life, the Holy Communion. The Divine Eucharist is a revelation and daily experience of the divine and human mystery of the Church. The Lord Himself, ‘who is invisible’, ‘He who gives, who is being given and shared’, gives us during Communion His Immaculate Body and his Holy Blood, thus making us ‘the fullness of the Heavenly Kingdom,” says the Patriarch.
The Ecumenical Patriarch appeals to Metropolitan Epifaniy to join efforts to preserve the patristic tradition regarding the Holy Communion:
“In the face of this situation, I would like us to join our fraternal thoughts and views to move together towards the pastoral overcoming of doubts about the accepted method of administering the Holy Communion.”