GENEVA – The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, due to the difficulties in travels to and from Constantinople because of the Coronavirus crisis held its recent meetings in Geneva presided by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
The Synod dealt with the issue of Holy Communion and issued the following official announcement: “Between 23-25 June 2020, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was convened for its regular meeting of the current month at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Geneva. On the first day, the synodal members were engaged in their cooperative work with many of the Hierarchs of the Throne in Europe that were invited as well.
During this meeting, the Official Letters of Their Beatitudes the Orthodox Primates that had been received thus far in response to the letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch to them of May 17th of this year, on the issue of the mode of distribution of Holy Communion that emerged after the appearance of the Coronavirus pandemic, were read and discussed. It was satisfactorily determined that their opinion coincided with that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This consists of the following:
a) The Mystery of the Divine Eucharist is non-negotiable, because we believe that through it, it is transmitted to the faithful the Body and Blood of the Savior Christ “unto the remission of sins and life eternal” and it is impossible that through this Mystery of Mysteries any disease might be communicated to those who partake. For this reason, the Church remains steadfast and immovable in its teaching towards the essence of the Mystery of Holy Communion.
b) As to the mode of distributing the ineffable Mysteries to the faithful, the Church, respecting Holy Tradition that is interwoven inextricably with the daily ecclesiastical practice and kenotic experience, and as the guardian and vigilant watchman of those traditions handed down from the Holy Father, finds no need for a change of this mode, especially under pressure from external factors.
At the same time, the Mother Church, mindful of the special needs of Her children in the Diaspora, urges the Chief Shepherds who serve in the Diaspora that with a pastoral sensitivity, responsibility, and consciousness, to temporarily make, by economia (leniency), accommodations to problematic situations that arise from local laws of the State for the greater spiritual benefit of the Christian people, always in coordination with the Sacred Center at the Phanar.
In Geneva, 25, June 2020
From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod.”