Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In this time of the Lent season the world lives in fear and confusion due to the fast spread of the Coronavirus. In the last few days also in Cyprus we have cases of infection. I encourage you to recite special prayers asking the Almighty to heal those who are infected and to stop the spread of this pandemic.
The Cypriot government, in order to restrict the spread of the Coronavirus, issued a decree in which, among other things, it is stipulated that “gatherings of more than 75 people in a confined space are also banned under the emergency measures – including church congregations.”
In order to protect the faithful against the Coronavirus and in line with the measures announced by the authorities, the following protective measures will be enforced in all our Latin churches in Cyprus with immediate effect and until further notice.
Sunday Mass will be celebrated in churches and in halls for small numbers up to 75 faithful or in church gardens or other open spaces (for a bigger number).
The various parish groups are also advised to suspend their activities accordingly.
Furthermore, Holy Communion will be given only in the hand (not on the tongue). During the liturgies there should be no handshakes or holding of hands; instead, the sign of peace should be given by a bow of the head.
In these days of fear and real risk of infection we recommend those our faithful who are most vulnerable, especially the elderly, and all with any symptoms of sickness, to refrain from coming to the church. They may take part in the Mass through television broadcasts or the internet.
It is a difficult time, which requires a sense of responsibility from all of us.
We pray with faith through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Lord’s protection and we hope that these measures will not be necessary for long.
Fr. Jerzy Kraj, OFM
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Cyprus
Nicosia, March 12, 2020