Stockholm, May 14, 2021
Dearly Beloved Brethren in Christ and Reverend Clergy,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Following My Episcopal Encyclical of April 22, 2021 and since our local Church, due to the outbreak of the pandemic, fully supports the decisions of the competent State Authorities regarding the taking of the necessary measures for the protection of public health, that is why we, the Clergy, as well as the members of our parish councils and the volunteers who assist in the work of our parishes, should apply with absolute precision and attention, everything pointed out below, concerning our parishes in Sweden, which will be valid from June 1, 2021.
– According to the new State Legislation, there should not be more than fifty (50) persons inside the church, including the Clergy, the chanters, the parish councils, the volunteers and the faithful (the number also includes children).
– There should be a distance of two (2) meters between the persons.
– The availability of the seats should be indicated, i.e. there should be a sign for where each faithful should sit.
– The faithful are forbidden to stand.
– Respecting the state recommendation, the Clergy, the members of the parish councils, the volunteers and the faithful, when entering and staying inside the church, should wear a face protection mask.
– In the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Sacraments and the other church services, we must verify that we do not all exceed fifty (50) persons in total inside the church. The non-implementation of the measure results in: a) a fine, b) detention of the Priest and c) closure of the church until the repeal of these restrictive measures, which implies the embarrassment of our local Church. For all of the above reasons, you need to be very careful and precise.
– Holy Communion, for reasons of economy, can be offered, after the end of the Divine Liturgy, to the pronaos/portico, together with the antidoron/blessed bread, so that the faithful are not forced to go through the whole church, and to avoid overcrowding.
– The same status, in terms of the number of participants – (50) persons – and the protection measures, applies to the Holy Sacraments, i.e. Weddings, Baptisms, funeral services.
– I urge you, for the precise observance of what is mentioned in this encyclical, to consult ahead of time with the members of our parish councils, to inform them accordingly, but also to avoid misunderstandings with the faithful.
– I urge you to post this Episcopal Encyclical on the social media of our parishes.
Clergy serving our parishes in other Nordic countries, please observe the local state sanitation measures in force.
Prayerfully and Brotherly Yours,
+ Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden