Updated 26 July 2021: The spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 and the public health measures implemented to manage it have had a profound impact on life around the world. Our Holy Orthodox Church is not exempt from this.
As Orthodox Christians have done during the many other outbreaks of contagious illness – epidemics and pandemics – throughout history, our parish is offering prayers for God’s mercy, for deliverance from sickness, for the pacification of troubles, and for the strengthening of the faithful with hope. Attending to the wise guidance of Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, we are also taking the COVID-19 public health risk seriously and complying with the precautionary measures mandated by the civil authorities in our state of New South Wales. This includes the suspension of public services and, when public services are permitted, limits on the number of people present and on singing; registration of attendance to assist with contact tracing; and the wearing of facemasks. We offer obedience to these restrictions with the understanding that, as Metropolitan Hilarion has noted, they are being undertaken for our benefit.
We have also introduced parish sanitary measures including the provision of hand sanitiser at the entry to the church; giving the faithful the option of not kissing the Holy Gospel, the icons, the chalice, the Cross, or the hand of the priest; cleaning icons regularly with methylated spirits; the provision of disposable napkins for use when receiving Holy Communion; and the provision of disposable cups from which to receive the warm water and wine (“zapivka”) after Holy Communion. The customary form of receiving Holy Communion remains unchanged.
For many years, a characteristic of the life of our parish has been an informal meal after Sunday services. This has been cancelled for the duration of the current pandemic, a change to parish life that many have found difficult. We hope that face-to-face opportunities for much-needed Christian fellowship will become possible again soon.
We have registered as COVID-safe and our parish COVID-19 Safety Plan is available here.
Many of our parishioners and friends have asked about the permissibility of COVID-19 vaccines. As with other kinds of vaccination, this is not a matter of spiritual life. Those worried about COVID-19 vaccines are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their own medical professionals. Noting that there are differences amongst the faithful concerning the newly developed vaccines, we encourage all to show kindness, patience, and mutual respect.
10 July 2021: Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev): Through Common Efforts We Will Overcome the Pandemic:
3 July 2021: Митрополит Тихон (Шевкунов): «Я благословляю делать прививки против ковида»
30 June 2021: Святейший Патриарх Кирилл благословил усилить в московских и ставропигиальных храмах меры по профилактике распространения коронавирусной инфекции
20 May 2021: Итоговый документ круглого стола «Вакцинация: этические аспекты в свете православного вероучения»
30 April 2021: Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
18 February 2021: Archpastoral Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, to the Clergy and Flock of the Eastern American and Australian-New Zealand Dioceses
Bishop Luke of Syracuse: Thoughts concerning COVID-19 vaccines
4 January 2021: Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
18 November 2020: Jubilee Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
25 August 2020: Message of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church to the episcopate, clergy, monastics and laity on the invasion of a harmful infection this year
3 May 2020: Послание Святейшего Патриарха Кирилла в Неделю 3-ю по Пасхе, святых жен-мироносиц
27 April 2020: Распоряжение Святейшего Патриарха Кирилла об ответственности за несоблюдение указаний, направленных на ограничение распространения коронавирусной инфекции
27 April 2020: Заявление Рабочей группы по координации деятельности церковных учреждений в условиях распространения коронавирусной инфекции
14 April 2020: Guidance for Holy Week from Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:
6 April 2020: Encyclical Letter of Metropolitan Hilarion concerning compliance with public health measures:
3 April 2020: Patriarchal Epistle to the Reverend Archpastors, clergy, monastics and lay people of Dioceses in Russia:
1 April 2020: Appeal of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia to the God-Loving Flock, in Connection with the Coronavirus Pandemic:
21 March 2020: Statement from Bishop George of Canberra on church life during the pandemic:
20 March 2020: A decree of the extraordinary conference of the Synod of Bishops:
17 March 2020: Инструкция настоятелям приходов и подворий, игуменам и игумениям монастырей Московской епархии в связи c угрозой распространения коронавирусной инфекции:
17 March 2020: Coronavirus Instructional Letter - Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:
14 March 2020: Coronavirus Guidance from the Diocesan Office - Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:
13 March 2020: An update from the Diocesean Office of the Australian-New Zealand Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:
13 March 2020: Decree by Archbishop pertaining to the Coronavirus - Western American Diocese, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:
12 March 2020: The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church issues a statement on the Coronavirus situation:
5 March 2020: A Statement of Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe Regarding Church Life and the Coronavirus:
English, Russian and French: https://orthodox-europe.org/2020/03/05/coronavirus-message/
Rules for worship - Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Washington DC:
13 July 2021: Church of Greece: Vaccination is the only solution to stop the virus
13 July 2021: "Elder,, what should I do with the vaccine?": Thoughts of Archimandrite Bartholomew, Abbot of Esphigmenou Monastery, Mount Athos
"Some priests allegedly become family doctors, without medical knowledge... taking on responsibilities that do not belong to them. [...] Vaccination is not a spiritual issue. It is a purely medical matter".
15 April 2021: Archpriest Alexander F.C. Webster, Dean and Professor of Moral Theology Emeritus, Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary: The Moral Peril of Taking Most COVID-19 Vaccines
9 March 2021: The Orthodox Theological Society in America: Document on COVID-19 Vaccines
Updated 4 Decmber 2020: The petitions and prayer in Slavonic and English that we are now using at Divine Liturgy can be accessed here :
The following prayer in Slavonic and English was used earlier in 2020:
Молитвы во время смертносныя заразы
Господи Боже наш, призри с высоты святыя Твоея на молитву нас грешных и недостойных рабов Твоих, беззаконьми нашими Твою благость прогневавших, и милосердие Твое раздраживших, и не вниди в суд с рабами Твоими, но отврати страшный гнев Твой праведно на нас движимый, утоли губительное прещение, устави грозный Твой меч, невидимо безвременно секущий нас, и пощади нищих и убогих рабов Твоих, и не затвори в смерти души наша, в покаянии сокрушенным сердцем и со слезами к Тебе, Милосердому, Благоуветливому, и Благопременительному Богу нашему припадающих. Твое бо есть еже миловати и спасати нас, Боже наш, и Тебе славу возсылаем, Отцу и Сыну и Святому Духу, ныне и присно и во веки веков. Аминь.
A Prayer in Time of Epidemic
O Lord, our God, look down from Thy Holy Heaven on the supplication of us, Thy sinful and unworthy servants, who have angered Thy graciousness by our transgressions, and have provoked Thy deep compassion, and enter not into judgement with Thy servants. But do Thou turn aside Thy fearsome anger that justly has seized us, appease the destructive threatening, avert Thy terrible sword that, although invisible, is cutting us grievously, and spare Thy poor and needy servants. Enclose not with death the souls of us who have fallen down in repentance with broken hearts and tears before Thee, our kindhearted, condescending and accommodating God. For Thine it is to show mercy and to save, O our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
They, and the following prayer, prayer may also be used at home:
A Prayer for Protection from the Coronavirus composed by Patriarch Daniel of Romania
Lord, our God, You who are rich in mercy, and with careful wisdom direct our lives, listen to our prayer, receive our repentance for our sins, bring an end to this new infectious disease, this new epidemic, just as You averted the punishment of Your people in the time of King David. You Who are the Physician of our souls and bodies, grant restored health to those who have been seized by this illness, raising them from their bed of suffering, so that they may glorify You, O Merciful Saviour, and preserve in health those who have not been infected. Lord, bless, strengthen and preserve, all those who out of love and sacrifice care for the sick in their homes or in the hospitals. Remove all sickness and suffering from Your people, and teach us to value life and health as gifts from You. Give us Your peace, O God, and fill our hearts with unflinching faith in Your protection, hope in Your help, and love for You and our neighbour. For Yours it is to have mercy on us and save us, O our God, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
And this prayer may be offered for medical workers:
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Lover of Mankind, Physician of our souls and bodies, who didst bear the pain of our infirmities, and by whose wounds we are healed; Who gave sight to the man born blind; Who straightened the woman who was bent over for eighteen years; Who gave speech and sight to the mute demoniac; Who not only forgave the paralytic his sins, but healed him to walk; Who restored the withered hand of a troubled man; Who stopped the flow of blood of her who bled for twelve years; Who raised Jairus’ daughter to life; And brought the four-day-dead Lazarus to life; And who heals every infirmity under the sun: Do now, O Lord, grant Thy grace to all those here gathered who have laboured and studied hour upon hour, to go into all the world, and to heal by the talent Thou hast given to each of them. Strengthen them, by Thy strength, to fear no evil or disease. Enlighten them to do no evil by the works of their hands, and preserve them and those they serve in peace, for Thou art our God, and we know no other, and to Thee we ascribe glory together with Thy Father who is from everlasting, and Thy most Holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Set out below are links to the streaming services being provided by some of the parishes of our Diocese. These links are current as of 6 July 2021.
We encourage our parishioners and friends to also consider the perspectives offered in the following articles:
Archpriest John Klingel: Liturgy and Live-Streaming: Two things that don't go together
Konstantin Shemliuk: Online Christianity: To be or not to be
The following parishes in our Diocese are some of those live-streaming services:
Saints Peter and Paul Diocesan Cathedral, Strathfield:
Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, Melbourne (Slavonic and English):
Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church, Brisbane (English only):