Covid-19 Safety Directives and Policies at St. Mary Orthodox Church

Last Updated: August 2, 2021

Read Past Letters from the COVID Committee

The complete set of directives is as follows:

Capacity and Registration:

  • Beginning May 30, 2021, there are no longer any capacity restrictions and parishioners no longer need to register to attend services in person. All are welcome to attend in person!

Arriving at the Church

  • Please arrive on time for services. Those attending divine services must arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. on the date you are scheduled to attend Sunday liturgy, or 30 minutes after the start time of any other liturgical service. After this designated time for each service, there will be no one available to provide you access to the church.

Face Coverings

  • All attendees, including vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, must wear a mask. It is important that we recognize that we have unvaccinated people in attendance, elderly and people with weakened immune systems, who are all at an increased risk of COVID because of age or health conditions. As a community, it is our obligation to work together to safeguard all.

Appropriate Social Distancing

  • Beginning May 30, 2021, there are no longer designated locations for seating.
  • There will be no access for any reason to the hall area, church offices and/or the kitchen. Children under 12 years of age are to be escorted to the bathroom by an adult.
  • There will be no touching or kissing of icons. To appropriately venerate the gospel, cross or icon, please bow your head.
  • We will refrain from shaking hands during the kiss of peace (please bow or acknowledge your fellow parishioner).
  • Father Antony, Deacon Jeff and the altar servers will be masked and will continue to hand you the holy bread.

Communion Procedures

  • For Communion and Dismissal, follow the instructions of the ushers.
  • Communion will continue in accordance with the church’s tradition. Tilt your head back and open your mouth wide to allow Father Antony to pour the Body and Blood in; do not close your lips on the spoon.  Do not wipe your mouth with the communion cloth after receiving communion. 
  • The Antidoron (holy bread) will be handed to you by Father Antony or the altar server.
  • Father Antony will be wearing a face mask during the distribution of communion and during the dismissal for his protection and the protection of others.
  • Communion will continue in accordance with the church’s tradition. You must allow Father Antony to pour the Body and Blood by opening your mouth wide and not closing your lips on the spoon.

Coffee Hour and Church School

  • Coffee Hour is scheduled to resume September 12, 2021
  • Sunday School will commence on Sunday, September 12, 2021. All students and teachers must be masked.
  • There will be a coffee hour after divine liturgy on Sunday, August 15, 2021 for the Dormition and coffee hours will resume Sunday, September 12, 2021. The coffee hour hosts, who will be masked and gloved, will serve parishioners so that there is no touching of the coffee hour food.
  • Those who graciously agree to host a coffee hour must follow our list of coffee hour procedures to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

We ask for your patience and that you respect these directives and strictly comply. These directives and restrictions are necessary to protect the health and safety of Father Antony, our altar services, chanters and those laity in attendance.

For Those Not in Attendance

Our services will continue to be available by live stream. Visit our live stream page for the video player, Social media links, and additional information.

Additional Information

The spiritual conversation of confessions may be done either over the telephone with the absolution prayer being given in person with physical distancing or all in-person with physical distancing. The stole will not be placed on the penitent’s head.

In the event you have any questions and/or concerns, please call the church office or Mary Winstanley O’Connor at (781) 641-2967.