Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Andronik Archbishop of New York and North America

Dear brothers and sisters,

The current pandemic is causing the Church to experience difficult times.  Due to the pandemic, government authorities are restricting the number of people allowed to attend services.  In many countries, including the United States of America, people are not allowed even to enter the churches.  Even in the worst days of the plague, churches remained open.  In effect, we have returned to the time when those in authority prevented people from praying in churches and many Christians took refuge in the catacombs to conduct church services.  It is essential that during these trying times that we remain patient, continue to pray and the Lord will not abandon us.  In light of these circumstances, allow me to share an event that occurred in the Sednayah monastery in Syria, which may give us hope.

A vision experienced by a nun at the Sednayah monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos:

A nun from Egypt called one of the sisters at the Sednayah monastery and related what had happened to her.  She said, “I saw the Virgin Mary on an icon.  She pleaded with her Son Jesus Christ to protect the world from the corona virus, but the Lord Jesus Christ turned away from her.  The Most Holy Theotokos continued to plead with her Son, but He refused to even listen to Her.  He said to Her, ‘This world has turned its back to me.  This world is bereft of kindness, love and prayer.’ ”

After the call had ended, the saddened nun of the Sednayah monastery turned her gaze to an icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and began to cry, “Our Mother, our Theotokos, do not leave us without your Intercession.  Continue to pray to your Son on our behalf so that the pandemic will pass and the sick will be healed.”

The nun continued to sob bitterly, and suddenly, she saw herself in the chapel that contains the Sednayah icon of the Mother of God.  She began to prepare for the pilgrims cotton swabs with the blessed oil from the lampada.  She noticed some smudge in the swabs and started to clean it. At that time, another nun entered through the door of the “Shagur-Lady” chapel and said to her, “I want you to congratulate me on my victory.”  The nun cleaning the cotton was surprised and asked, “What has happened?”  The Most Holy Theotokos answered her, “I am victorious, for I convinced my Son, our God, to have mercy on the world and rid it of the epidemic.  Tell the whole world that everyone should take the holy oil and make the sign of the cross on the doors and windows of the houses and on the forehead of each person.  That way, the epidemic will end.”

May God, through the intercession and prayers of God’s Mother, have mercy on us and save us all.  Amen.

Dear brothers and sisters, I congratulate you with all my heart with the Great Feast Day of the Resurrection of Christ!  I wish you happiness, good health, peace, love and goodness!


Archbishop of New York and North America