“If disaster comes upon us, whether sword, judgement, death or famine, we will stand before this house and before You, for Your name is in this house.  It cries out to You in our affliction and You will hear and help.” 2 Chronicles 20:9

RAVANICA IS OUR FAMILY, OUR HOUSE, OUR CHURCH, AND OUR FUTURE

The world has witnessed the rapid spread of a virus named Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019). We make the following statement in response to the increase in the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and the alarm that the spread of this virus has understandably caused among our faithful parishioners. We offer guidance and ask for your support.

The Church is the mystical body of Christ. Nothing can affect or change this sacred mystery. Nothing that is done in all reverence, piety, and fear of God in response to this virus should be construed as anything other than a prudent pastoral response to a situation that has the possibility of severe consequences. We want to reassure you that we are taking every measure to keep our church and staff safe with the necessary precautions to keep the church and facility clean and protect you the parishioner.

All members of the Church should seek to console the anxious, assist those afflicted, and encourage those working in medical professions. All faithful should pay special attention to those who might be at risk of more serious complications from this virus: the young, the elderly, and those who already have respiratory or cardiac illnesses. Indeed, no one should be stigmatized or ostracized because they have contracted the virus.

If any member of the Church (parishioner, clergy or staff) presents symptoms of COVID-19, they should refrain from attending church services for the period of time directed by medical authorities, presently outlined by the CDC and the WHO for fourteen days.

We also direct all stewards of Ravanica to offer prayers for the afflicted, for their families, for those who are anxious or troubled by this situation and for those who need reassurance. Attached is a prayer to be shared with your family and we implore you to read daily.

The Cathedral and the Holy Sacrament of Communion

For now, the Cathedral will be open as usual, and the Holy Sacrament of Communion will be administered as it has for centuries. If you are at all concerned about taking Holy Communion, we encourage you to wait until such time that you once again have comfort in doing so. We will monitor the statements of the proper authorities and keep you informed.

The American Serbian Memorial Hall

Today, the Executive Board made a decision to temporarily close the American Serbian Memorial Hall from March 14th through April 30, 2020. This action was one that was not taken lightly considering the many events scheduled at the hall, our long-term staff, and the socialization that we enjoy in that building. This means that no activities will be held in the hall including lunches and socialization after the Divine Liturgy. We have asked our customers to please shift their dates to a future time, or we will provide them a full refund of their deposit for their prior scheduled event. If all goes as planned, the hall will reopen on May 1st.

We need you now more than ever…

The Executive Board anticipates a drop of attendance, and of course a decrease in attendance typically results in a decrease of donations and candle sales. We beg of you to be mindful of your stewardship commitments to our parish, but also request that you increase your charitable giving at this time. Because you may refrain from participating in worship, we ask that you please make arrangements to provide your contributions to our cathedral on a regular basis.

The outbreak of COVID-19 requires our dioceses, our parish communities, and their faithful to be vigilant in keeping our parishes safe. Careful, precautionary, and temporary steps taken now can prevent extreme spread of this virus. Some of these measures have included cancellations of events (both church & American Serbian Memorial Hall) that generate funds to support the day to day operations of our parish such as: utilities, operations and maintenance, and more. Like many institutions we will sustain a significant hardship if our own stewardship donations don’t increase.

Our Parish Priest

The Executive Board is concerned for the well-being of our parish priest, Fr. Zivan Urosev. He alone is exposed to thousands of people on a monthly basis serving our parishioners with their spiritual needs.

These spiritual needs include funerals, baptisms, weddings, slavas, home blessings, pastoral counseling and hospital sick visits.

More apparent than ever, a second parish priest is required to support the demands of our parish. It has been expressed that this may not be the time to hire an additional priest due to our present financial situation, however our pastoral needs are many within our Ravanica community.

Your Executive Board asks you to open your hearts and make a generous donation of your treasure to ensure that our Ravanica will remain strong during this uncertain period of time.

All concerns and questions may be directed to Donna Medich, President at churchboard@ravanica.org.

Most sincerely,

The Executive Board

St. Lazarus Serbian Orthodox Cathedral Ravanica

 

Let us join prayer (include your children) as we pray for the health of our family, friends and nation. Let us offer this prayer in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ our God, You traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At Your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience Your healing love.

Heal those O Lord who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fears, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another. Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Lord Jesus Christ, healer of all and physician of our souls and bodies, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know Your peace. Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know Your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know Your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Lord Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace. For You are the Physician of our souls and bodies Christ our God and to You do we offer glory, thanksgiving and worship together with Your Eternal Father and Your All Holy Good and Lifegiving Spirit now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.