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COVID-19 Update - Church Re-Opening Guidelines

posted Mar 18, 2020, 5:30 PM by John Banas   [ updated May 28, 2020, 5:34 PM by Dina Banas ]

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Christos Anesti!  Christ is Risen!


We pray everyone is safe and healthy, by God's grace, during this difficult time of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  As we as a Parish are preparing to enter the Yellow Phase of the Gradual Reopening of our church services and parish activities, we are working with our Metropolitan Savas and our Metropolis of Pittsburgh to follow CDC guidelines for churches and the directives Metropolitan Savas has provided us with to help keep everyone as safe as possible.


We are attaching Metropolitan Savas' Letter to the Faithful and The Road Ahead which outline the temporary guidelines we will have to follow to receive his blessing and his consent for us to enter the Yellow Phase of the gradual reopening of our church services and activities. 


While Luzerne County is expected to enter Yellow phase on May 29th, we are looking to reopen church sometime later, AFTER we receive permission from Metropolitan Savas. 


First, if you have any signs or symptoms of any acute illness (whether it is COVID or not), you MUST stay home, as should those who have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID within the last 2 weeks.



In the Yellow Phase, we will be permitted to serve Divine Liturgy with up to 25 people in the church, everyone wearing masks and social distancing. In order to prevent exceeding this limit and having to turn people away, we will be calling all the parishioners in advance to confirm attendance. If you want, you can call or text Christine Stelmack at 570.417.4465 to let her know what your plans are. Pews and carpets will be marked to help maintain 6 feet social distancing.  Once you arrive at church, someone from the parish council will help you to your seat. Family groups may sit together, but must remain 6 feet social distancing from everyone else.   



Holy Communion according to the guidelines will be a little different to avoid contact with the spoon and the communion cloth. The priest will wear a mask while administering Holy Communion.   Please form a line in the center isle of the church observing the 6ft markings on the floor. The priest will ask that you remove your mask, open your mouth and he will give you communion without touching your lips with the spoon. Do not close your lips on the spoon and do not use the communion cloth to wipe your mouth. Following communion, please take antidoro from the table and consume it, put your mask back on and exit through the left side of the church. Signs will be posted and floors will be marked accordingly.  




After Divine Liturgy, everyone is asked to head to the back of the church and take antidoro, if they wish, while maintaining social distancing and immediately leave the church. No trays will be passed out. Please drop off your stewardship in a tray as you exit the church.   

There will be no coffee hour in the Yellow phase. 



Kollyva is permitted if pre-bagged and left at the back of the church for parishioners to take.  

The church will be cleaned and sanitized after every Divine Liturgy.

It is recommended that parishioners 65 years of age and over, those with health issues and those living in long-term care facilities not attend church services but watch online or by other means during this initial yellow phase.  

We are working on implementing a live stream of all of our church services.


We pray this temporary yellow phase is of short duration. We will keep you informed of further developments and when a date is set for resuming our Church Services.


In the Risen Christ,


The Parish Council of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Wilkes-Barre

Helpful links during COVID-19:
Dina Banas,
May 28, 2020, 5:33 PM