Archbishop Elpidophoros Announces Further Measures To Protect The Faithful

Press Office

Tel: (212) 570-3530


March 16, 2020

New York, NY – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America announces today measures to protect the health of the Greek Orthodox Flock of America, and the health of the wider public. These decisions are being taken in light of the recommendations of Federal, State, and City officials and agencies, including the CDC.

Beginning March 17, the Archdiocesan Headquarters in New York City (which is also the residence of the Archbishop) will close, and all employees will work from their homes. The Archdiocese possesses a system of videoconferencing and virtual connectivity, that will allow for the work of the Church to proceed in good order.

The Archbishop, out of an abundance of caution for the health of his flock and the public, and especially because New York City has become a “hot zone” of the Covid-19 pandemic, is canceling his public schedule effective immediately. In addition, all scheduled ordinations will be restricted to family members only.

The Churches will continue to perform the appointed services, however, the Faithful should pray from their homes and participate in these services through Internet broadcasts and multimedia. Clergy will continue to make visitations for those in need of sacramental and pastoral care.

Commenting on these measures, Archbishop Elpidophoros said:

“As Christians, we must take responsibility for the well being of others. We can be united in the spirit even as we are apart in the body. In fact, protecting the health of those around us is a powerful witness to our faith, that we place the good of others above our own. With our faith in God, we can overcome these present difficulties, using the rational, scientific knowledge that we possess through our God-given intelligence.

“As your shepherd, I will be ever-vigilant for the welfare of our Archdiocese, praying in the Chapel of Saint Paul every day for all of you, for our Nation, and for the world. Above all, I will offer the Holy and Divine Liturgy for the life of each and every one of you. May the Lord keep us all in health and safety until these challenges have passed.”


March 14, 2020


Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

You are all aware of the enormous concern (and drastic actions being taken) surrounding the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Our parish, even with our deep faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is not exempt from addressing the concerns which exist today.

Church services will continue as scheduled. The Sunday Divine Liturgy on Sunday and the Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesday will be celebrated at 9:30 AM. The Salutation Services and the Akathist Hymn will begin at 7:00 PM Friday evenings.

We are in constant communication with His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and the Archdiocese who have communicated to us all updates, information and concerns. His Eminence is in constant communication with health officials and receives updates from the state of New York on the protocols which we are being asked to follow. Please read them carefully and take precautions as they may apply to each and every one of us. The state of New York and His Eminence have asked us all to be prudent. If you fit into the following categories, you are considered at risk. We ask you to consider staying home if:

• You have a chronic health condition and/or a suppressed immune system

• You are elderly (defined by the U.S. government as 60 years or older)

• You are not feeling well or are recovering from a recent cold, the flu, etc.

• You have had exposure to someone (a family member, etc.) at risk

Understanding this, our parish is taking the following precautions for Sunday Divine Liturgy and in the programs our Community offers.

• There will be no Church School classes.

• There will be no coffee/social hour/meetings or gatherings.

• No stewardship tray will be passed in church, however one will be offered in the Narthex

• Antidoron(bread) will be offered at the rear of the church and will be placed in small plastic bags for distribution, or offered by an individual; The Archdiocese has instructed that clergy not offer to have their hand kissed, as mandated by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros.

Additionally, for the next two weeks beginning this Sunday, all activities will cease. This means all Youth meetings, Greek School classes, dance groups, senior citizen gatherings, exercise groups, and meetings of any kind are canceled. We ask for your cooperation. Please help us as we are trying to comply to help contain this viral outbreak. We also ask that all communications go through both Harry Ermides and myself to avoid any miscommunication. Please do not act on our behalf. We ask that if you have not signed up for our mailing list, please sign up now to help us reach you with any updates as soon as possible. Click here to sign up on our church mailing list.

This is, from what you see, read, and hear every day, an ever-evolving situation. This is our first mass communication to you and will likely not be our last. We will be offering messages in church, in the Sunday bulletin, on the church website, on social media, through direct electronic communications, phone calls and utilizing every communications tool available to reach as many of you as possible.

Please join us in praying fervently for the health of our parish, our city, the United States, the world at large and all of those suffering from COVID-19. We also pray for health care workers who place themselves at risk to treat the ill. Thank you.

May the Lord bless and keep you always,

In His Service,

Harry Ermides, President

☦Rev. Fr. Patric Legato, Proistamenos

Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church

P: (518) 489-4442


440 Whitehall Road

Albany, New York 12208

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