By Nikolin Svetlana
Almost 260 million Orthodox Christians all around the world are facing an extraordinary Easter this Sunday 19th April under widespread lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis. In spite of that they are preparing to spend this Easter at homes following beautiful traditions and customs so characteristic of Orthodox world.
‘The festive feeling is eclipsed by the tragedy of the situation and quarantine restrictions imposed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we cannot traditionally gather at Holy Week liturgies and personally greet one another in temples at Easter services. We are aware that isolation, together with our deep faith and sincere prayer, will overcome evil. History has experienced pandemics and plagues. The difference today is that we are aware of science and medicine, which in the case of the pandemic of COVID-19 propose a self-isolation for the protection of our lives. What 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. As Orthodox Christians, it is important that we remember not simply our personal or pious obligations but also our communal and social responsibility.
The success of those working so hard to respond to and overcome COVID-19 depends on our participation and cooperation. This is an invaluable contribution to all of society, a sacrifice equally worthy of praise and gratitude as those fighting this battle on the front lines.
One of the positive outcomes of this universal challenge is that we must now think deliberately and creatively about our relationships to one another.
Working together from a distance, through the diverse means of modern technology, has provided not only the possibility of supporting one another as a means of consolation and survival but also of advancing our dreams and programs as a way of cooperation and progress.
The lessons that all of us have learned will prove indispensable when we emerge from this crisis. We have been reminded that the world is larger than our individual interests and concerns, larger than our jurisdictional parishes and congregations, larger than any single church or religious community.
We have realized that we must always do something more than what only affects our lives or our families.
We have admired the doctors and nurses, who sacrifice their lives for the healing of others. We have witnessed those working in grocery stores and pharmacies, those driving trucks and delivering goods, and especially those volunteering their time or donating their money for our more vulnerable brothers and sisters.
All these actions of selfless love exude the fragrance of the Resurrection. We have discovered in this crisis that our homes and families have become a ‘small church’. ”
Extracts from online magazine ‘ukrinform.net’ interview of Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinoiple, Archbishop Bartholomew by Olga Budnyk
journalist/ editor in chief monthly news paper ‘Trgoprodukt’ (1982-1990)
freelance journalist from1990
editor in chief – non profit
intercultural magazin “XXI Century” (2006-2016)
independent researcher on intercultural dialogue, minorities and small ethnic communities of the Balkans (Banat Bulgarians, Aromanians)
specialised ”XXI Century” magazine editions:
”Palchens in Banat”
”Aromanians of Pancevo city”
Aegeo (Egej) travel book
‘Small anthology of Aromanian poetry’
‘ Aromanian old songs’
‘Aromanians in south Banat’/project book)
‘The nomads of the Balkans’ -(translation project book)
coordinator in NGO”In Medias Res” department for small ethnic communities and intercultural dialogue ( from 2006 to 2016)