Metropolitan Methodios issues statement on church participation during the flue season
The Center of Disease Control (CDC), fearing an H1N1 Pandemic, strongly discourages participation in group activities, recommending individuals, (especially children) with colds or the flu remain at home and follow the instructions of their medical doctors. Many faithful have approached our Parish Priests expressing concern about their participation in worship services, especially in the sacramental life of the Church. While the warnings of the medical community should be heeded by persons with colds and flue-like symptoms, people, in general, should not panic but carry on with their usual activities, including going to church and receiving Holy Communion.
It should be noted, that the Church has always been clear in its belief that diseases are not transmitted from the Holy Chalice which we believe contains the very body and blood of our Savior. Hence, the distribution of Holy Communion was never a question even when various diseases ravaged the world. As is well known, Priests consume what remains in the Chalice at the end of the Divine Liturgy, regardless whether it was celebrated in a parish church, a hospital or hospice chapel.
Orthodox Faithful have always acted responsibly. As we face the reality of the present flu pandemic fears, Orthodox Christians are urged to use discretion as they follow the directives of the medical community.