Fr. Andrew (Konanos) Speaks on How to Survive the Pandemic and Remain Human

I think about how our life has changed. Everything stopped, closed, and froze.

I haven’t spoken with people for several days. I’m being open about this, yes, I live in silence and solitude for a fair number of days in a year. It seems to me that this does not look strange or unusual. (Some people look at my photos, selfies and conclude that I spend all day on the street and relax 24 hours a day! But that doesn’t matter.) Photos that someone took over 2-3 days can be uploaded within some time, several months. They give the impression that you live with no restriction.

I think about how our life has changed. Everything stopped, closed, and froze. I think about you, who find it difficult to stay at home. You are not one of those who look inward your heart. You remained at home out of need, because this was ordered. Likewise, you remained out of love, because it should be so for the sake of people around you and the sake of yourself.

You also remained out of fear and general insecurity.

I also think about those who carry the burden of psychological issues, about lonely people, the destitute, and orphans.

I wake up these days and, although the sun tells me, “Smile! Look what a wonderful day it is today”, I see a different reality reminding me of the threat, fear, and the black rider who will steal many from our planet.

Everything that happened for the last couple of weeks has made me think seriously about the temporality of this world, about our earthly life.

I thought (I’m not hiding it) about death. I often forget about it, plunging into all of my activities. I am so delighted with this life, its colors, music, aromas, successes, tastes, intoxicating drinks, people, that I feel as if I’m a permanent resident of this land. I have a feeling of being here forever.

Being here, in this excellent world, with an excellent neighborhood, in a beautiful country. Then one thing came near. It’s invisible and imperceptible. It’s a virus that reminded us of the fact that there is also an end. Maybe it is not an end to me or you now, but sooner or later life ends…

I open the refrigerator: it is full. I bought enough of everything with a margin for the following days. I drink orange juice and eat three Koulourakia with cinnamon, because it tastes so good. How wonderful it is to live, to rejoice, to be in good health, to feel the constant breath of God near you.

Only praying is easy these days, that is, I speak with God and I tell Him all of this. About my doubts, my relatives and friends, our insecurity, and about those who are sick or will soon get sick, or maybe die. I say that this is inevitable. I can’t believe it yet and don’t even want to do it.

There are also screams and quarrels about Christ at this time from all sides, it’s hard to figure it out. It’s a wild thirst for something that sometimes doesn’t even resemble Him. It’s an insatiable thirst for self-justification: I am right, everything I do is right, I am better than you, I am real, and you are lying, you are wrong, you are in the dark.

The only logical action these days is to stay at home and pray. I am talking about inner prayer of the heart, silence, love and sincerity.

Politicians, doctors, nurses, priests, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, policemen, traders, athletes, artists, intellectuals, critics, writers, poets, those who are praying, and simple workers are all called to become “miracle workers” now. They are all called to get through this miracle of love and unity with each other, to pay attention to the most important thing: to the deadly enemy, the virus, while waiting for the Immortality of Love. It is important to testify about Christ not only in our statements, but also in our loving heart.

In practice: let’s stay at home, via the Internet we can “travel” anywhere, buy, talk, exchange opinions, our pain, dreams and hopes.

Let’s become somewhat ascetics these days, let’s be filled with love for everything. Then this fast will be the most wonderful in our life. You know the rest, everyone is talking about it: you should wash your hands, etc.

From “Selected Writings”.

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