His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, has announced that a number of religious serviced will be cancelled in a bid to curb to the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are watching with concern and prayer the developments around the world connected with the coronavirus virus. In these difficult times, when mankind is in danger of a pandemic, of which Armenia is part of, and our lives have been disturbed, we sincerely urge our spiritual fathers and faithful people to exercise extreme caution and avoid public contact and gatherings,” His Holiness said in a statement.
“We urge everyone to act with high personal and public consciousness and responsibility, not only for ourselves, but also for one another, deeply understanding that the security of everyone’s life at this moment is also our personal responsibility. We pray for the healing and spiritual strength of the infected and isolated. We send our highest appreciation and blessing to our doctors for their non-stop service, for their utmost effort while working under emergency,” the Catholicos said.
In consultation with the clergy leaders of our Church and discussing the situation with the Armenian bishops today, it has been decided:
Schedule church service hours each day from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm for individual visits and private prayers for believers, as well as for Holy Communion and other vital spiritual needs, for the period until Holy Thursday;
Conduct the Divine Liturgy ceremonies in camera, without the participation of faithful people, where possible, by distributing liturgies where possible;
Abolish the order of blessing of children on Palm Sunday, to perform the ceremony of blessing of branches without the presence of believers;
Not to observe the blessing of women awaiting the joy of motherhood on April 7, the Feast of Annunciation to St. Mary;
Not to perform wedding ceremonies;
Perform baptism when strictly necessary;
In the case of funerals, only perform the Graveyard procedure, urging the mourners to refrain from organizing funerals and crowded spiritual gatherings.
All churches have been instructed to abide by the rules. March 18 has been announce a day of nationwide prayer, inviting everyone wherever they are to join the clergy at 7:00, requesting that the Lord help overcome this ordeal.
“Together we will overcome this challenge with public solidarity, civic and spiritual high responsibility and consciousness, and the grace and mercy of our Lord. Life is a divine gift and the most precious one, we need to care for one another with love. Now is the time to testify of our love and unity,” He Holiness Karekin II said.