There are two things that the priest in this video said that were correct. One was, “we are not worthy to receive Holy Communion.” That is a statement every single Orthodox Christian can agree with. But it is different when we say it and hopefully mean what we say, that we may be grateful to the Lord for allowing us to receive it anyway. But not so in this church in Toronto. Here, by order of the city, the church had to not give Holy Communion. The presiding priest is clearly heartbroken:
The second thing was what we hear earlier in the video clip. “The persecution of the Church continues.” And, in liberal Toronto this appears to be exactly the case. The Church shown here is a Greek Orthodox community, but the video appears to be unlisted so there is no information about exactly which parish it is or who the priest is.
What is maddening about this is that the priest did not decide to obey God rather than men and do it anyway. This would have been the right action. What is nevertheless good is that the priest is humble, not arrogant, and simply ascribes this horrific order to the state of the believers themselves, including himself, that “we have so little faith, we do not deserve this miracle.” And he would be right in that.
OrthoChristian.com gave some more information that we quote from here:
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto of the Patriarchate of Constantinople published a video of the Sunday service from July 5 at St. Nicholas Church in Toronto on YouTube, in which Fr. Fanourios Pappas emotionally tells his congregation that just the night before he had been informed by diocesan authorities that, per the city’s instructions, he was not to offer the faithful Holy Communion.
The Greek Metropolis of Toronto is headed by Metropolitan Sotirios…
Referring to the “persecution of the Church,” Fr. Fanourios tells his flock:
My brethren, today, I have a great sadness. Last night, we were told from our Archdiocese that the city of Toronto forbade Holy Communion for the area of Toronto, and it looks like the persecution of the Church continues. I have no words to express my disappointment and my sadness. And I feel that I cannot share with you today any sermon because I feel that I cannot talk about faith, about Christ. I feel that at this moment I only want to ask God to forgive us, to forgive our little faith, to forgive our weakness, to forgive us because we are not worthy to keep the great blessing of the Orthodox faith.
In the fuller video [which is no longer available], it could be seen how Fr. Fanourios returned to the altar, brought the chalice out onto the ambo and became choked up as he pronounced, “In the fear of God, with faith and love draw near,” and then immediately returned into the altar.
Looking deeper at the piece, there is something very odd. The City banned only the Greek Orthodox parishes from distributing Communion in Toronto, but apparently this ban was extended to the entire nation of Canada! There is not much more information on this and we will check and update this piece as we gather more.
This site contains the full text of the ordinance given by the City of Toronto, some of which is excerpted below:
All places of worship must adhere to the following requirements: General Guidance
- Suspend all communion-related activities as advised by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
- Suspend all social gatherings, including those that occur before or after the service, as advised by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
- Suspend food services at this time.
- Participation of religious services is limited to no more than 30% of the capacity of your premises.
- Maintain a distance of two metres/six feet between all people, as much as possible.
- Suspend regular childcare and children’s programming.
- Encourage the use of masks, and require that masks be worn when, in rare circumstances, physical distancing is not possible.
- Suspend indoor singing activities and choir service.
- Suspend the sharing and distribution of the following materials and objects: books, communion objects, microphones, prayer mats, prayer shawls, water, chalices, collection plates (please note: this is not an exhaustive list).
- Discontinue use of the holy water stoup.
- Avoid opportunities for the virus to spread through touch, either directly or indirectly through surfaces and objects, including objects that may be used in rituals or ceremonies.
- Perform more frequent and enhanced cleaning and disinfection.
Canada presently ranks #20 in the index of who has the most cases. The country reports about 107,000 cases at present.
This, while at the same time, demonstrations that include violent and murderous rioting in the streets across America and Canada, Toronto and Montreal included. The demonstrations are encouraged by the same city leaders that are telling people to forsake their God and not pray.
The connection is so obvious that the only way not to make it is to willfully refuse to see it.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.