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The Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, meeting under the presidency of His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, held a special session by conference call this evening to discuss the continuing Coronavirus outbreak.

Participating in the call were His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate, His Eminence Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, His Eminence Archbishop Irénée of Ottawa and Canada, His Eminence Archbishop Michael of New York City and New York and New Jersey, His Eminence Archbishop Alexander of Dallas, the South, and the Bulgarian Diocese; His Eminence Archbishop David of Sitka and Alaska, His Grace Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest.

Participating in the session by invitation were His Grace Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; His Grace Bishop Alexis of Bethesda, His Grace Bishop Andrei of Cleveland; and Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America.

His Beatitude opened the special session with a brief address to the brothers of the Holy Synod in which he specifically noted that this crisis,  “is a positive opportunity for the clergy and faithful to grow spiritually and for we the bishops and shepherds of the Church, to provide real pastoral guidance to our faithful,” said Metropolitan Tikhon in his opening address. “We have a real opportunity to help our faithful develop a deeper longing and knowledge of Jesus Christ.”

The Holy Synod then heard a report from Metropolitan Tikhon on the meeting of the Standing Synod of the Orthodox Church in America which was held on Friday, March 27, and a series of meetings called by His Beatitude with the finance and legal committees of the Metropolitan Council, an ad-hoc committee of health professionals and a meeting of all the Diocesan Chancellors of the Orthodox Church in America.

The Holy Synod then heard from each Diocesan Bishop on the status of Church life in each diocese, and current directives of the local state and civil authorities.

The Holy Synod considered and accepted documents that will be released shortly.

Tomorrow Metropolitan Tikhon will convene a special session of the Metropolitan Council to discuss the impact of the crisis on the administrative life of the Orthodox Church in America. It is expected that a joint statement of the Holy Synod and the Metropolitan Council will be released tomorrow.