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Saint Sophia Updates on COVID-19 Procedures

March 14, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

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Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Church

P: (518) 489-4442

E: stsophia@nycap.rr.com

440 Whitehall Road

Albany, New York 12208

Archdiocese website: www.goarch.org

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