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United States

John Catsimatidis and Michael Psaros on Archdiocese’s Response to Global Pandemic

NEW YORK – Prominent businessmen and Community leaders John Catsimatidis, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council, and Michael Psaros, former treasurer of the Archdiocese, issued a strong statement supporting wholeheartedly the initiative of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros regarding the temporary use of multiple metallic spoons in administering Holy Communion because of the coronavirus pandemic. 
The entire statement follows:
 
“We affirm in the strongest possible terms our total support of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros and his sanction and encouragement of special practices for the distribution of Holy Communion in this time of the global pandemic. Particularly, we affirm that the use of multiple spoons to ensure one Spoon per communicant is an effective and pastoral response to give assurance to the Greek Orthodox Faithful of America. COVID-19 has been and continues to be a serious challenge to the Church, as it is to every member of our society. Especially now, when our youth look to the leaders of the Church for wisdom that is as reasonable as it is rooted in our Tradition, this pastoral accommodation to our liturgical tradition, which has clearly evolved through the centuries, demonstrates real Christian love and the kind of leadership that serves the people. We learned that for the first thousand years of our Church, the spoon was not used, that the faithful drank from the Cup and received the Body of Christ in their hands. Then a change occurred. Is it not possible that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the Church, during these days of Pentecost, to ensure the inclusion of everyone in the Sacrament of Holy Communion? We wholeheartedly commend the Archbishop and encourage an open mind throughout the Church as we continue to face this global pandemic.
 
John A. Catsimatidis
Archon Notarios
Vice Chairman
Archdiocesan Council 
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
 
Michael G. Psaros
Archon Ostiarios
Former Treasurer 
Archdiocesan Council 
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
 
The National Herald reported on May 28 that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America issued detailed guidelines regarding the reopening of the churches in the Direct Archdiocesan District in which it offers the choice of the use of individual spoons for Holy Communion as a temporary easement to the faithful. Two weeks ago The National Herald in an Analysis suggested four possible ways of administering Holy Communion. The use of individual metallic spoons was one of them.
 
In a letter to the New York Clergy the Chancellor of the Archdiocese Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas issued a number of instructions, including the following:
 
“13. As a temporary measure only, Holy Communion will be offered via the following procedures designed to protect our clergy and our faithful:
a. The parish shall use multiple metal spoons that will be single use during the distribution of Holy Communion.
b. The parishioner will approach the chalice and be urged to tilt their head back and open their mouth wide so that the communion may be dropped into their mouth.
c. The Priest will use a new spoon to offer communion and then place the spoon in a separate receptacle before the next parishioner.
d. In lieu of a Communion Cloth, the parish will have disposable napkins available to the faithful, and upon approaching the chalice, the parishioner would take a napkin, hold it under their own chin, wipe or dab their mouth, and then dispose of the napkin in a container on the solea, the contents of which will be burned the same day.
e. Following each appointment, the spoons will be submerged in boiling water to cleanse them.
14. After having received Holy Communion, faithful should exit the building and return directly to their vehicle without congregating or lingering.”

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