My Dear Beloved Orthodox Christians and Parishioners,
It is with mourning, a heavy heart and sadness for the Clergy and the laity alike that I write this Paschal Message to you in the midst of the pandemic of the Covid-19 virus. Thousands of people are suffering or regrettably have perished. Our hospitals are full of those stricken with this virus and they are running short of the basic materials to help those afflicted. Our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals have collectively put forth a superhuman effort to fulfill their sworn responsibility to heal the ill and the suffering of their fellow man.
With the restrictions that have been put in place by our government we are journeying thru the Great and Holy Lent shut in our homes for the first time in our history. It is entirely possible that we may not hear the above hymn from the Katavasies of Pascha chanted during the Holy Resurrection Service while worshiping in our Churches!We must yet always first remember in our thoughts that the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ reveals to us the most significant event of our Faith, And that only with our own personal spiritual renewal and resurrection will we be able to face and arise from the calamities and difficulties that we face during our temporary and uncertain lives in this fallen world as evident more than ever with this current health crisis. It is also evident to all of us that our human nature is flawed from the time of our forebears Adam and Eve who disobeyed God and were exiled from Paradise. Therefore it has become our duty and lifelong goal as Orthodox Christians to seek the Grace of God and strive to return to Paradise – the Kingdom of Heaven.But even as we recognize and deal with our mortality during our lives here in this earthly world, we ultimately are NOT in control of our lives. Each year at the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ we are yet given another opportunity for spiritual renewal unto union with God. Without the Crucifixion of Christ the Resurrection would not have been possible. Jesus Christ strengthens us spiritually, He give us courage and most of all hope – because He alone is the Source of Life.
My dear brothers and sisters, these days in which we are now living, all of humanity indeed is facing an enormous ordeal with the Covid -19 pandemic. We all recognize what is happening here especially in NYC the largest city in the US. All of us therefore need to care about, assist and help our fellow man in whatever way possible. This of course includes our neighbors, the elderly, fellow parishioners and co-workers. I am certain that all these events that are happening around us have had a tremendous impact on our lives. First and foremost spiritually but practically speaking economically as well. Our Churches have remained closed since early March for the protection of the faithful. It is with a heavy heart and unsettling thoughts that fill my mind with what our Clergy and the laity alike are dealing with during these unprecedented circumstances. We thank all of you for understanding, your steadfast love and your patience.Our Community is YOUR Community which you have supported for over 90 years. Together united in mind, thought and purpose once again we will emerge victorious over this trial that faces all of humanity now. Please donate what you can to support your Community and His Church. We know these are difficult times for everyone.
I hope and pray that the upcoming Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ may truly be a Resurrection for ALL of mankind! Health and prosperity for all. May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of us, Amen.
With Paternal Love and Best Wishes,