New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Faithful and priests in the Direct Archdiocesan District are rather confused about the mode of distribution of Holy Communion.
On May 18, the Chancellor Fr. Andreas Vithoulkas in a memo send to all priests of the Direct Archdiocesan District said that “As a temporary measure only, Holy Communion will be offered via the following procedures designed to protect our clergy and our faithful: . The parish shall use multiple metal spoons that will be single use during the distribution of Holy Communion.”
This decision was not followed by every priest and both the Archbishop and the bishops continued distributing the Holy Communion the traditional way. All other seven Metropolitans also continued the traditional mode in their parishes. Many priests were declaring they wouldn’t change the way under any circumstances and no one reprimand them.
Meanwhile the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in a Communique issued on June 25, stressed that “the Mother Church, mindful of the special needs of Her children in the Diaspora, urges the Chief Shepherds who serve in the Diaspora that with a pastoral sensitivity, responsibility, and consciousness, to temporarily make, by economia, accommodations to problematic situations that arise from local laws of the State for the greater spiritual benefit of the Christian people, always in coordination with the Sacred Center at the Phanar.”
Following an archpastoral visit to the parish of St Paul Cathedral in Hempstead, on June 30, the presiding priest Fr. Christopher Constantinides has sent the following message to his parishioners, announcing the return to the traditional mode of the Holy Communion:
July 1, 2020
Good Morning Cathedral Family,
What a beautiful blessing and visit we had for the Nameday Vespers of our Cathedral and yesterday for the celebration of The Holy Apostles and the Nameday of His Grace Bishop Apostolos along with the one year anniversary of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros as Archbishop of America.
For the entire month of June we have been administering Holy Communion from individual spoons as we said, for this short temporary period of time, to help us all during these transitional times. Yesterday, His Grace Bishop Apostolos administered Holy Communion with the common spoon.
Beginning this coming Sunday we will return to the use of the common spoon for Holy Communion during the Divine Liturgy. For those who are still apprehensive or tentative or have any concerns at all, you can still sign up to come to Holy Communion after the Divine Liturgy and partake, or you can call either myself or Fr. Constantin and we will be more than happy to administer the sacrament for you to receive Holy Communion.
Once again I thank you for your love, care and patience during what has been an unprecedented time of our lives.
With Love, Care and Respect,
Few hours later, the decision was recalled. In a new message sent in the evening to the members of the parish, Fr. Christopher Constantinides said:
“Good Evening Cathedral Family,
After hearing today many of the recent developments and reports with the rise and spike of the virus and with serious reconsideration, I am going to maintain the administrating of Holy Communion with multiple spoons until further notice.
I ask your forgiveness for any inconvenience or concern this may have caused.
Thanking you for your patience,
Father Christopher Constantinides