NEW JERSEY – After the decision and the official announcement of the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding the way Holy Communion is to be administered with the common Spoon, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey issued an encyclical thanking and praising Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the decision.
The entire encyclical follows:
“June 25, 2020
The Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey
It is with thanksgiving to God that His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy and Sacred Synod, who met from June 23-25 at the Patriarchal Orthodox Center in Chambésy, Geneva, Switzerland, discussed the most important and significant issue concerning the manner with which the Sacrament of Sacraments, Holy Communion, is offered to the faithful. The decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod also considered the responses of the other Autocephalous Churches as requested by His All Holiness. The official Communiqué which is attached in Greek and English in paragraph 2 states the following:
‘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.’
Therefore, the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod is clear insofar as there is to be no change to the traditional practice of offering/receiving Holy Communion as it has been for centuries.’
In addition, paragraph 3 of the Communiqué states:
‘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’, 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.’
We, in the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, have been abiding and conforming to the local, state, and federal laws and we will continue to do so. Thankfully, no restrictions have been placed by any of the states which comprise our beloved Metropolis pertaining to the distribution or reception of the Holy Eucharist.
We thank His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his Patriarchal and Archpastoral decision. Let us also continue to pray and entreat the Lord our God that He may bestow upon us His grace especially during these unsure times as the devout faithful and our country have both directly and indirectly endured the devastating effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Praying that our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ continues to guard and protect each of you, I remain
With Paternal Love and Blessings,
E V A N G E L O S Metropolitan of New Jersey.”