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

Last Updated: August 29, 2020

Compliance with Government Regulations

  • Anyone who is outside the list of acceptable states per the Covid-19 travel of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days or have a negative coronavirus test to enter. This is per Massachusetts requirements. Please see the following website for additional details:

Invitations to Attend

  • Twenty members of laity may attend Divine Liturgy in rotation with appropriate physical distancing throughout the nave.
    On the Tuesday preceding the Sunday Divine Liturgy, you will receive a telephone call from our church secretary, Robert Kowalik, if you are in the twenty member group (members of an immediate family residing in the same household or one household will count as one member) for that Sunday. If you are not home and do not return the message, advising that you will attend, Bob will invite the next person on the list. We will be using our annual ballot, as modified to include new members, for purposes of the calls. 
  • Under no circumstances is any member to appear on a Sunday unless he/she has been invited. This is the directive of the Archdiocese. Further, if you are scheduled to attend and become ill, please do not come to Liturgy.
  • For weekday services, we are using an online ticketing system for self-registration. Please pay attention to our church bulletin, email announcements, and Social Media for the registration links.

Arriving at the Church

  • Our parish's doors will remain locked at all times. For divine services, a designated representative from our parish will be at the front door to begin letting those scheduled to attend starting 15 minutes before a service begins.
  • Those attending divine services must arrive no later than 10:15 a.m. on the date you are scheduled to attend Sunday liturgy, or 15 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

  • You must have a mask or face covering, which you must wear throughout the service. If you arrive without a face covering, you will not be permitted to remain. You need to provide your own masks; the church will not provide masks. (Very young children, babies and toddlers are excused from this requirement.)
  • The mask should not have a valve (which may make breathing a little easier, but also makes exchange of germs easier).

Appropriate Social Distancing

  • Sit only in the pews marked with an icon card. Do not sit in any other pews. You will receive a floor plan with the available pews numbered when you arrive for liturgy.
  • 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 hugging, handshakes or kissing, including kissing of icons, the cross, gospel and/or Father Antony’s hand. To appropriately venerate the gospel, cross or icon, please bow your head.
  • You must bring hand sanitizer with you for your use.

Communion Procedures

  • Communion and receipt of the Antidoron will be from the right aisle only.
  • Follow the instruction of the usher who directs the people toward the communion chalice. The usher is there to maintain order and to insure that a 6-foot social distance is maintained.
  • 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.

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.