“I envision an Orthodox Christian community, devoted to worshiping God, and living the Gospel in the hope of our Salvation”

Love - Joy - Peace - Patience - Kindness - Goodness - Fidelity - Gentleness - Self-Control

April 06, 2020

Protocol 20-07
Holy week and Pascha

- Metropolitan Isaiah -

Beloved in the Lord ,

It has been said in recent days that the coronavirus and its associated impacts have turned our world upside down. This certainly is an appropriate characterization of our current situation. Some have become ill, even unto death; some have lost jobs and income; most have been isolated, and fear of the unknown has widely altered the lives of God's people throughout the world. In the midst of this, our Church, which is normally a safe­ haven and consistent presence for the faithful, is impacted in a most profound way.

This reality is painful and has been lamented widely by clergy and laity alike. Some may feel that any impact on the Church is unnecessary or an over-reaction. Personally, I have had great difficulty in applying restrictions to the normal function of our parishes. Recognizing that the Church provides a tangible meeting place between God and His creation, any limitation is nearly impossible to accept.  However, as experts predict that the coming weeks of the pandemic may be some of the most difficult in this country, for the safety and sake of the people of this metropolis it is necessary that we take these extreme steps.

With this in mind, and consistent with the decisions of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, I am providing the following directives to the priests and  parishes  of the Metropolis of Denver for the upcoming Holy Week , and which will remain in effect until further notice.

  1. The divine services, including all of the prescribed Holy Week Services, shall continue to be conducted by the clergy, chanters, and necessary support, not to exceed five people in the church.
  2. Where possible, services should be streamed on the internet for the faithful to pray from their homes.
  3. None of the traditional material offerings are to be distributed to the faithful in any way, including palms and/or pussy willows, flowers, candles , and eggs, etc.
  4. If a parish has purchased and /or prepared palm crosses, they are to be blessed in the traditional manner and kept be distributed when distancing restrictions are lifted. If parishes have not obtained, or cancelled such orders for palms, the priest should perform the blessing service over similar greenery fashioned in the form of a cross.
  5. The Holy Week Pre-Sanctified Liturgies may be celebrated and streamed online at the discretion of the parish priest.
  6. The service of Holy Unction may be celebrated on Holy Wednesday and the sacrament saved for distribution when distancing restrictions are lifted. And /or, at the discretion of the pries t, parishes may celebrate the Unction service as a community after distancing restrictions have been lifted.
  7. On Holy Friday the funeral bier (Kouvouklion) should be decorated simply to eliminate proximity issues inherent to having multiple people decorate it. Vases of flowers may be placed on the floor at the four corners.
  8. The procession prior to the Lamentations on Holy Friday evening should be done with the priest carrying the epitaphios horizontally around the interior of the church.
  9. On Holy Saturday night the Resurrection Gospel should be read from the center of the soleas.
  10. Holy Communion shall not be offered, neither during specific times nor by appointment until further notice. The Church firmly asserts that the Eucharist is truly the Body and truly the Blood of Chris t, and that no harm can come from it. However, to mitigate the risk of virus transmission to /from clergy or laity due to proximity, this is necessary.

           Any priest failing to abide by these directives will be subject to ecclesiastical discipline.

It is true that our world has been turned upside down. Yet, we are called perhaps now more than ever, to be in this world, but not of this world. Indeed, our loving and merciful God, through His death on the Cross and third day Resurrection, has conquered this fallen existence and prepared for His faithful a new heaven and a new earth. Despite our current challenges, let us no less joyfully celebrate His triumph over death, and proclaim emphatically as one Church family: Christ is Risen!

With paternal blessings,
Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver


Metropolitan Isaiah is a native of New Hampshire, having been born in Portsmouth. He is one of four children born to Dennis and Mary (Kapsimalis) Chronopoulos who had emi...[more]
“I envision an Orthodox Christian community, devoted to worshiping God, and living the Gospel in the hope of our Salvation”

Love - Joy - Peace - Patience - Kindness - Goodness - Fidelity - Gentleness - Self-Control

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Metropolitan Isaiah is a native of New Hampshire, having been born in Portsmouth. He is one of four children born to Dennis and Mary (Kapsimalis) Chronopoulos who had emigrated to the United states from Olympia, Greece. After his primary and high school education, he served with distinction in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean conflict. In the autumn of 1954, he enrolled at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts. Upon his graduation in 1960, he attended the Ecumenical Patriarchate Seminary of Halki in Istanbul, Turkey for graduate studies. On February 25, 1962, Metropolitan Isaiah was ordained a deacon by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos at Saint Spyridon Church in San Diego, California, having been tonsured a monk on the previous day. He received his ordination to the holy priesthood from His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Olympos at Saint Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, California, on March 18, 1962. His first assignment in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese was as assistant to the pastor at Holy Trinity Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. In December of 1964, he was assigned as pastor at Saint John the Baptist Church in Youngstown, Ohio. On November 30, 1969, he was raised to the office of Archimandrite by Archbishop Iakovos at the consecration services of the new church and community center in Youngstown. Archbishop Iakovos reassigned the Metropolitan to Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology as the Director of Student Life in August of 1971. Taking a leave of absence from his duties in February 1975, he enrolled as a graduate student at the School of Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, fulfilling requirements for the recognition of his master’s degree in theology. He returned to the United States in July of that year and continued in his capacity as dean of students. In September 1976, he was given additional responsibilities at the college-seminary as the Dean of Administrative Affairs together with his position as Dean of Students. In October 1977, he assumed additional duties as the Interim Pastor at Saint Nicholas Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Relinquishing all of these positions in March 1979, he was assigned as the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chicago under His Grace, Bishop Iakovos of Chicago. Metropolitan Isaiah was elected to the rank of bishop by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey, on April 10, 1986. He was consecrated a Bishop on May 25, 1986, at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City, and was given the title of Bishop of Aspendos, a former Christian city in southwestern Asia Minor. In September 1986, His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos assigned him as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese in New York. Bishop Isaiah continued to function in this capacity until June 23, 1992, when he was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Denver by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, taking the new title on June 24, 1992, at special ceremonies in the Archdiocesan Chapel. He was enthroned as Bishop of Denver on September 10, 1992, at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Denver, Colorado. On November 24, 1997, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate elevated him as Metropolitan of Proikonisos and Presiding Hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Denver. Metropolitan Isaiah was also appointed as President of Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology on July 1, 1997, by His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon of America. He accepted a one-year term which officially ended on August 14, 1998. On December 20, 2002, the Ecumenical Patriarchate elevated the status of the Diocese to a Metropolis, and in 2003, elected Metropolitan Isaiah as Metropolitan of Denver.