In a pastoral message linked to the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Ioan Casian of Canada referred to the social distance (recommended as a preventive measure against infection) as to an ascetic effort on the #lentenpath.
The Romanian hierarch advised the believers to observe the norms announced by the state authorities and called for a change of priorities to draw nearer to God.
“Let us use this time,” said His Grace, “to get out of the vortex of this world to pause for a moment on God and on the reordering of our priorities and on the understanding of our essential needs as they arise from this divine purpose.”
Bishop Ioan Casian’s Pastoral guidelines for the State of Health Emergency: full text
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Due to the worsening of the situation related to the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), new restrictive emergency measures have been taken at the federal and provincial levels by the Canadian authorities.
The state of health emergency has been declared in several provinces of Canada.
In the province of Quebec, all churches will remain closed for public religious services until March 31 at least. The situation will then be reconsidered.
The priests are urged to remain available and in contact with the faithful to respond to urgent spiritual needs in the spirit of the instructions made by the Canadian federal and provincial health authorities (social distancing etc.).
More practical pastoral guidance regarding the religious services of parishes and monasteries in the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Canada during the Great Lent and how believers will receive the Holy Sacraments or find a solution to other urgent spiritual needs will be published on the diocesan website: www.episcopia.ca starting Friday, March 20, 2020.
We are in the period of the Great Lent where we are invited to make the effort to become better by letting ourselves be penetrated by the grace of God that comes through prayer, faith, humility, the Divine Liturgy and the Saints Sacraments.
This time of fasting through ‘social distancing’ and the hindrance to the possibility of community prayer is a difficult askesis for the regular Christian faithful accustomed with daily, weekly or monthly familiarity with God and the Church.
But this time means more than ever a pilgrimage on the spiritual path to the encounter with God and deeper communion found with Him and with neighbors beyond the distance that temporarily separates us.
Let us use this time to get out of the vortex of this world to pause for a moment on God and on the reordering of our priorities and on the understanding of our essential needs as they arise from this divine purpose. The grace of God to the extent of our faith works in every circumstance as in this time of trial.
We pray to the Good God that all believers in the parishes and monasteries of our Diocese find comfort and healing in their souls and bodies through the prayers of our Saints Protectors – the Mother of the God, St. Andrew the Apostle and St. John Cassian.
Faithful together with the clergy of our Diocese are invited to remain united in prayer for the whole world even if physically limited by ‘social distancing.
With Christian love and hope in the Christ the Lord,
Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Canada
Photography courtesy of the Basilica.ro Archive
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