Following the recent instructions by the Greek Orthodox Patriach Bartholomew for the temporary suspension of churches services till the end of March, it was suddenly announced on Thursday that the monastic community of Mount Athos will shut its doors to visitors also for the same period.
A previous message from the Patriarch had excluded monastic communities from such closures and suspension of services, however the increasing spread of the coronavirus and public health and safety concerns have taken precedence.
“We must be limited and suppressed in these extraordinary circumstances are gatherings and large congregations of people. Let us remain in our homes. Let us be careful and protect those around us. And there, from our homes, strengthened by the power of our spiritual unity, let each and every one of us pray for all humankind," Patriarch Bartholomew said.
“We will pass through this period like a journey through the desert to reach the Promised Land, where science, by the grace of God, will overcome this virus. We are certain that, through our prayers as well, science will indeed prevail. So it is good for us to remain united in spirit, as we continue the struggle of repentance and holiness."
“We see our neighbours suffering from the consequences of the virus, while others have already fallen and departed from among us. Our Church hopes and prays for the healing of the sick, for the souls of the departed, and for courage and strength to the families of the afflicted," Patriarch Bartholomew concluded.