[The following is a transcription of Metropolitan Demetrius’s recent video, Keeping The Faith – A Lenten Message by Metropolitan Demetrius, 2020]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are going through a trying time right now with the coronavirus and many are concerned about it. There are a lot of fears going around.
I want to stress that we should know that the Church is a hospital. And here we receive the Holy Mysteries which are to the healing of the soul and body. So we must have faith and believe that Our Lord is here to heal us. But something that many of our faithful are not taking into consideration, this is of greater concern: that we must understand is that we are here temporarily. There are many sicknesses that exist. Now we are in something that we call a pandemic because it is across the entire world due to the traveling, and the ability of travelling so quickly by means of airplanes is that this sickness has been travelling all around the world. But we must have faith and hope and we must have the remembrance of death and this is what we are faced with right now, because the reality of death seems to be much closer to many people now. If we are afraid of dying, that means we are not prepared, but as Orthodox Christians we must understand, we are exiles in this world. Our true land is the Jerusalem on High and there will come a time when we all of us will have to leave this life. We do not know when that will be and it could be of any other illess besides the coronavirus, so this is why we say that we must be realistic when we say we will all die one day. We are afraid because we are not prepared. So we should pray that our Lord to help us prepare for the next life, even if we don’t die in the next year or not, we will eventually have to leave. It could be in a decade, it could be in a few decades, a few years or a few weeks. God only knows. This is why we pray every Service for a Christian end of our lives. And before we ask our Lord to give us a Christian ending to our lives, we pray that we complete the remaining time of our lives in peace and repentance. So for those of you who are preparing to receive the Holy Communion, you should prepare for this with faith.
We have seen many miracles with regards to Holy Communion as have also many faithful. Many have been healed by the participation in the Holy Mysteries.
If we are going to prepare, let us prepare with faith. Of course, that also means we have to be cautious, because the body is also Holy. The body and soul are united, the body is Temple to the Holy Spirit so we must not tempt God either by irresponsibly not taking the proper measures to make sure we are safe and in a safe environment. So let us be very cautious, let us be safe. We should know what needs to be done in terms of keeping ourselves clean, washing our hands carefully and not touching people unnecessarily.
So with that I conclude with the hope that we complete this period of Great Lent of 2020 during which we have a specific temptation which is different and makes this Lent unique because of this temptation. I pray that the Lord helps us to be focused, to focus ourselves on Him and the reality of how we will leave this life, and on those things that are most important to us: Our Lord Jesus Christ. We need to learn to love Him, he needs to be everything to us. He is our God and worship Him, we worship the One Lord in Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We pray that the One God in Trinity help us prepare for Holy Week and Holy Paskha so that we may understand that through His resurrection we are risen. We pass from death onto life. In Jesus Christ there is only life, there is no death. And to Him be Glory and Majesty for the ages of ages! Amen!