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On Monday, May 11, 2020, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago made the following statement:

In concert with the decision of our Holy Eparchial Synod, and consistent with COVID-19 guidelines issued by state and local public officials, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago plans to implement a comprehensive set of conditions-based protocols in the coming weeks to reintroduce greater participation in liturgical services and the sacramental life of the Church. The purpose of the protocols is to establish public health safeguards that allow communal worship on a modified basis while also complying with governmental COVID-19 guidelines.

The Metropolis of Chicago already has been consulting with clergy and lay professionals of diverse backgrounds and expertise regarding how to permit a phased return to parish buildings and resume communal worship. While there are many complex, exacting and undetermined considerations, the Metropolis is committed to finding a responsible balance between the community’s liturgical life and each individual’s safety.

Once tested and refined, the Metropolis will implement the protocols across all parishes. Beyond the celebration of the Eucharist, the Metropolis also is examining how the celebration of other Sacraments, including weddings and baptisms, can take place in a safe and responsible manner. The protocols will continue to be informed by governmental COVID-19 guidelines and medical best practices. The overall wellness of our parishioners is our paramount concern.

While parishioners have fully embraced “the Church in the home,” the Metropolis of Chicago recognizes that so much of what Orthodox Christians hold sacred is expressed and experienced in our parish churches. As such, we fervently desire a return to the celebration of the sacraments and services as parishioners intuitively know them. While the last two months have been difficult, we feel blessed that, through God’s grace, our clergy have found creative ways to minister to the needs of our people. With additional resourcefulness and prayerful vigilance, we will once again come together as a community to worship and pray.

Until that time, the Metropolis of Chicago asks for everyone’s continued patience and cooperation. The faithful are also asked to pray for our brethren and neighbors, especially for the first responders, those who are sick or who have passed, and for our public officials throughout our Holy Metropolis.

About the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago

Tracing its roots back to 1923, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago is the diocese of Greek Orthodox faithful in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Indiana, and southeastern Missouri, consisting of 58 parishes and two monastic communities. The Metropolis is one of nine regions in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael. The general offices of the Metropolis are temporarily located in Lombard, Illinois. For more information and to get involved, visit our website, join a Strategic Planning Team, sign up to receive Metropolis news and follow us on FacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.

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Chris Varones