An Update on our Unusual Lenten Journey

By now, almost all of us have had at least two weeks to process the reality the whole world is facing: nothing in our life is normal now or in the medium term. Sadly, for us Orthodox Christians, this period of time includes the remainder of Great Lent, Holy Week, and the Feast of Feasts (Pascha) itself. Most of us have accepted that social distancing is something we absolutely must do for the sake of our loved ones and our neighbors. (Read our priest’s sermon on social distancing as love for our neighbor.) Yet many of our people are undestandably weighed down with grief. (Read or view our our priest’s sermon on our grief and bright sadness in this Lenten season.)

Archbishop Alexander continues to form the response of our clergy and laity. In early March, our archbishop offered a robust response to COVID-19. On March 31, Archbishop Alexander offered a refined directive to get our diocesan parish communities through the “peak” of the Coronavirus crisis–and to address the immediate questions we face about how our parishes will celebrate Holy Week and Pascha. At present (and God-willing going forward) our parish falls squarely in “category A” of our archbishop’s directive, meaning that:

  •  we are to prioritize serving Liturgy, offering it “on behalf of all” our beloved people. St. Athanasius will plan to continue to serve 10am Sunday Liturgy and 6pm Presanctified Liturgy for the remainder of Great Lent.
  • we are to limit strictly attendance at the Liturgy to the same 10 people for each service (no rotating people–trying to limit households exposed together in the Liturgy)
  • additional services in Lent will be livestreamed and limited strictly to 10 people
  • Our Holy Week Schedule of services from our Temple (and Livestreamed) will be as follows :
    • Palm Sunday Liturgy (April 12)
    • One Bridegroom Matins Service (TBA)
    • Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Thursday (April 16)
    • Vespers of Holy Friday (April 17)
    • Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday (April 18)
    • Paschal Liturgy on Morning of Pascha (April 19)

In the meantime….

  • Lent is Still Happening Even as our people refrain from attending services in person, the call to Fast, Pray, and Give Alms remains front and center for Orthodox Christians this year as in any other! As Vladyka, there is nothing keeping us from encountering our Lord in these blessed practices. There is nothing “keeping us from observing the divine commandments.”
  • Divine Services are Still Being Offered (and Livestreamed) (please check out the online calendar)
    • Our Liturgies are being Livestreamed on the St. Athanasius YouTube Channel
    • Other lesser services and various talks are being shared out via our parish Facebook Page (which you can access without having a Facebook account)
  • Materials for Domestic Worship are available (many parishioners prefer this mode of worship to livestreaming–and that is fine!)
  • Prayer at Church, Lighting Candles, and Phone Confession 
    • Open Church Hours (as announced, day by day) for private prayers
    • Phone Confessions & Socially-Distanced Pastoral Visits by Appointment (contact Fr. Justin at 859-361-2823)
    • In emergencies, Fr. Justin will a available for Confession with Communion
  • Special Volunteer Sign-ups for Tasks Inside & Outside Church
    • Online Sign-up for Daily Ringing of Bells at 10am (every day of the week)
    • Online Sign-up fop “Manning the Church” on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (with notes about responsibilities)
    • Online-Sign-up for grounds beautification and deep-clean of church
  • “Virtual Coffee Hour” on Sundays (12pm) and Wednesdays (720pm)
    • We are using the app “Houseparty” (learn how to download and use here)

In this unusual season in our parish history, we sadly cannot invite you to join us physically. But we do invite you to connect virutally, through the livestreaming options and by praying along with our community. We also encourage you to reach out to our priest, Fr. Justin (859-361-2823.) It is vital that everybody in this crazy season–parish members and newcomers–be able to contact the priest for support, prayer, and a listening ear.

We were blessed (by our archbishop) to conduct a number of Sacraments (one wedding and eleven Baptisms/Chrismations) in early and mid-Lent. Here are photos of these wondrous (yet socially-limited) events:


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