The increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne region and in the Australian State of Victoria has necessitated further measures to ensure public health. In this context, the Archdiocese of Australia announces the suspension of public worship in its Orthodox churches in Victoria State from today, Wednesday, July 8, reports the Orthodox Times.
Archbishop Makarios of Australia has sent an encyclical to the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Melbourne, Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis, and the Archiepiscopal Vicar of Northcote, Archimandrite Evmenios saying:
“With great sadness and pastoral anguish, I am watching the unfortunate developments in Melbourne, Northcote and the wider region of Victoria regarding the increase of the cases of the coronavirus in Melbourne In compliance with the decisions of the State, we are obliged from today to suspend again the public worship in our Orthodox Churches.
It is clear that the suspension of public worship means that the Churches will be closed to the faithful. However, all the services, the feasts of the Saints and the Divine Liturgies will regularly be performed only by the priest and the cantor while the Holy Mysteries and funeral services will be performed according to the instructions of the State.
I urge you to comply with these guidelines by properly guiding our priests and the Boards of Directors of your archdiocesan district, and to intensify your prayers to God, the Gift Giver, whose intercession awaits all humanity.”