Due to the situation with the coronavirus, the New Athos monastery has been closed for several weeks for parishioners and pilgrims.
The abbot of the monastery, Father Dorotheos says: “At first some people couldn’t understand this decision, but now our flock understand why we took such measures”.
“Since the monastery’s closure, only the clergy and inhabitants of the monastery serve. Our health is our problem. We are monks and every day we must be prepared to face the Lord, but we have no right to risk the lives of our parishioners and other people,”said Father Dorotheos on Abkhazian TV, in the program devoted to COVID-19.
He says that since the closure of the monastery, everyone can watch a live broadcast of Divine Services, which is practiced by many churches in the world. The live broadcast will also be held on Easter night.
Father Dorotheos notes that only the New Athos monastery was closed for visitors among 20 churches of Abkhazia.
“In most churches of the world, Easter will be celebrated in closed churches. This means that only clergy will take part in Divine Service. Services will be broadcast live. About 20 churches function on the territory of Abkhazia and not a single church in Abkhazia is going to be closed on Easter except the New Athos Monastery. This is the responsibility of every priest; I have no right to give advice to other priests. But my flock, which included 200 people, agrees to held Easter Service at a distance, remotely. The service will be broadcast from the monastery. They will pray with us,” said the abbot of the monastery.
Father Dorotheos also informed believers that he practices confession in social networks – in Messenger or WhatsApp.
“There are no problems. All these things can be done remotely and services can also be carried out remotely,” said the abbot of the New Athos monastery.
Father Dorotheos said that the New Athos Monastery would be closed for visitors until early May.