In the News

THE REOPENING OF SAINT SOPHIA CATHEDRAL

June 22nd, 2020

THE REOPENING OF
SAINT SOPHIA CATHEDRAL

DATE OF REOPENING, CONGREGATION SIZE, POLICIES AND PROCEDURES:

As of Monday, June 22, the District of Columbia has transitioned from Phase 1, up to ten (10) persons in the Cathedral at any one time to Phase 2, up to one-hundred (100) persons at any one time.

Please see HOW TO REGISTER, below, for policies and procedures concerning the preparation of the Cathedral, the reception of parishioners as they enter the narthex, pew seating, social distancing and specific direction as to how to approach the Holy Chalice. Please read with as much attention and specificity as you can. All policies and procedures are sourced in state and local law, as well as the directives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and as such must be strictly enforced, without exception or interpretation.

WHO MAY, AND MAY NOT, ATTEND:

According to the directives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Faithful may worship and receive Holy Communion ONLY at their local parish. Additionally, the following may not:

1.) Those with any signs or symptoms of any acute illness (COVID or not).

2.) Those who have come into contact with COVID-positive persons within the last 2 weeks

3.) Those who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID.

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE HOURS (Pew assignment will begin at 9:30 AM):

Beginning Sunday, July 5, through Sunday, July 19, Divine Liturgy will begin at 9:45 AM.

Beginning Sunday, July 26, through Sunday, September 6, we shall return to our “summer hours” schedule: Orthros (Matins) at 8:00 AM and Divine Liturgy at 9:30 AM.

Beginning Sunday, September 13, we shall return to our regular schedule: Orthros (Matins) at 8:30 AM and Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.

WEEKDAY AND SATURDAY WORSHIP SERVICE HOURS:

All weekday and Saturday worship services will commence at their regularly scheduled times as indicated in the 2020 Saint Sophia Cathedral Worship Schedule.

ONLINE STREAMING: Online streaming of all worship services will continue without interruption.

HOLY COMMUNION:

During this extraordinary time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Archdiocese has issued guidelines that “are not permanent changes to our Church practices, but temporary measures of safety and mutual respect,” and has granted individual clergy and parish councils discretion in the application of these temporary guidelines, whose ultimate purpose is to insure that no one should hesitate to approach the Chalice, and that all may do so without judgment or prejudice.

In accordance with the present (temporary) practice of many Direct Archdiocesan District communities, Holy Communion will not be administered at the appointed time within the context of the Divine Liturgy. Instead, the Eucharist will be offered at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, and the attendant faithful will be invited to receive either according to traditional practice, or according to an alternative (temporary) method. Whether traditional or alternative, what is essential is that we retain our mutual love and respect for each other.

Let us, then, as the one Body of Christ, always remember the text of the Divine Liturgy that explicitly invites us to “draw near” to receive the Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord “with the fear of God, faith, and love.” For beginning with the clergy, and extending to the entire congregation, “no one bound by carnal desires and pleasures is worthy to approach, draw near, or minister to You, the King of Glory.” This confession of universal unworthiness applies to all, without exception, regardless of how one chooses to approach the Chalice.

HOW TO REGISTER FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP:

[1] Please SIGN UP HERE to register. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work to comply with local and state law restrictions, as well as Archdiocesan guidelines.

[2] Please register for only ONE Liturgy at a time. Our goal is to provide as many parishioners as possible the opportunity to attend Divine Liturgy.

[3] Each Sunday we will prioritize families who have scheduled memorial services for their loved ones, as well as parishioners who have yet to attend worship service in previous weeks. If, by Friday at 5:00 PM, the Cathedral has not reached full capacity, we will allow those who have previously attended services to register for the coming week on a first-come, first-serve, basis.

[4] If you register as an “Individual,” i.e. you are the only member of your household seeking to attend Divine Liturgy, we ask that you register in the “Individuals” pews only.

[5] Each individual must provide valid contact information, including first & last name, home address, phone number, and e-mail address. This information is vital for contact tracing.  We will cross-reference the information with the Cathedral’s database.

[6] If multiple members of a household that is quarantining together register to attend Divine Liturgy, we ask that you register in the “Family” pews. To reserve a family pew, the primary registrant for the household must provide complete contact information (see step 5). Then, after reserving the pew, click “comment” next to the pew you have reserved and provide the first and last name of up to 3 additional household members who plan to attend.

Since all household members have been quarantining together, the home address, phone number, and email information of the primary registrant constitutes a valid way to contact any or all members of the household, if necessary. Again, if the Cathedral has not yet reached capacity by 5:00 pm on the previous Friday, any open pew may be reserved.

[7] At 5:00 PM on the previous Friday, an attempt will be made to contact any registrant(s) that have not provided complete registration information, and alerted that their reservation may be canceled. Registrants will have 24 hours (i.e., until 5:00 PM, Saturday) to update their information on file before cancellation becomes final, and the previously reserved pew is made available to others.

[8] Each Saturday at 5:00 PM, registration for Sunday morning’s Divine Liturgy will be closed. No registrations will be accepted thereafter. Again, at this time, all registrants with incomplete registrations will have reserved pew(s) canceled.

[9] If no Memorials, or “call-ins,” have been reserved by the previous Friday, the “Holds” on the Memorial pews and the “call-in-designated” pews will be released, and parishioners can reserve these pews on a first-come, first serve, basis.

[10] Registration will be available for only two consecutive Sundays at a time (i.e., the upcoming Sunday and the following). On Saturday at 5:00 PM, after registration for Sunday morning’s Divine Liturgy is closed, registration for the following Sunday morning’s Divine Liturgy will open.

Prior to entering the Church, you will be greeted and checked in by a screener at that door.

Upon entering the Cathedral, you are required to use hand sanitizer and wear a face mask at all times and adhere to social distancing rules (6 feet of separation).

Please note:

[1] The exterior Cathedral front doors and handicap entrance on Garfield Street will be open.

[2] All interior doors will remain closed.

[3] You will be screened and required to use hand sanitizer.

[4] Please venerate icons by bowing before them. Do NOT kiss icons.

[5] The Clergy will announce directions for an orderly and safe approach for Holy Communion at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy.

[6] Antidoron and offertory trays will be located at the exit doors of the Cathedral.

[7] No coffee hour.

[8] The bathrooms adjacent to Father John Hall are closed for renovation. Only the one person handicap bathroom outside the Cathedral office will be available to the congregation.

[9] Parishioners will exit the Cathedral through the same doors they entered. Please do not congregate in the parking lot.

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

[1] Who is considered high risk and should stay home and follow the services online?

    1. Anyone with a cold, fever, runny nose, or considered at a high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as defined by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), should not attend Cathedral services in person.

[2] Are Parish Council members required to ask parishioners health questions before entering the Cathedral?

    1. Yes. We are required to ask each parishioner, prior to entry into the Cathedral, if they have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or if they serve as caretaker for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms. If a parishioner responds “yes,” they will NOT be allowed to enter the Cathedral.

[3]  If I do not pass screening, what will happen?

    1. You will NOT be allowed to enter the Cathedral. You will be asked to leave and advised to contact your doctor for further evaluation.

[4] Will I need to wear a face mask and practice social distancing if attending service in person?

    1. Yes. All individuals and families attending worship services must wear face masks as they enter the Cathedral, and practice 6-foot social distancing. Families may sit together.

[5] What is the seating capacity in the Cathedral with social distancing requirements?

    1. With social distancing of 6 feet between individuals and families, the seating capacity is limited to a maximum of  80 parishioners (excluding clergy, chanters, altar servers, parish council members and Cathedral staff). 

[6] Will I need to check in?

    1. Yes. We are required to register all individuals who attend worship services in person. We will have a printout of our registered parishioners and will check off names as they enter the Cathedral.  

[7] Communion Process

    1. Holy Communion will be provided AFTER the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.

[8] Do you provide hand sanitizer?

    1. Yes.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Please open the following links. They contain valuable information and provide specific direction for your safe participation in the Divine Liturgy.
ATTESTATION AND WAIVER OF
LIABILITY AND AGREEMENT TO INDEMNIFY

ATTESTATION:

Submission of this reservation request is your attestation that you, and those for whom you make reservation, satisfy the following criteria:

1) You do not have COVID-19.

2) You have not been exposed (per CDC definition) to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has yet to satisfy exit criteria for the required self-quarantine period (per CDC guidelines).

3) You are not taking care of anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.

4) You exhibit no COVID-19 symptoms.

5) You have not been recently tested for COVID-19 and are still awaiting your results.

If you cannot answer YES to all of the questions above, please do NOT register to attend Divine Liturgy, remain home and worship via the online streaming services.

If you are in an at-risk group (as defined by the CDC), please do NOT register to attend Divine Liturgy, remain home and worship via the online streaming services.

If you are sick, or not feeling well, for ANY reason, please do NOT register to attend Divine Liturgy, remain home and worship via the online streaming services.

Liability Waiver and Indemnity:

By attending Orthodox Christian worship services at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Washington, DC, I acknowledge that I both understand and accept the risk of possible exposure or transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to myself, or others who come into contact with me, due to potential contact with fellow worshippers, parish council members, chanters, clergy, or with surfaces in the Cathedral, including the risk of person-to-person or surface-to-person, and in general how I choose to participate in the worship service.

I understand that while Saint Sophia Cathedral is taking all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of such exposure to attendees, such measures are neither perfect nor guaranteed, and any activity involving multiple individuals during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents a risk of viral infection.

I also understand that during this pandemic I am free to participate, or not, in any aspect of the worship or sacramental life of Saint Sophia Cathedral, and accept the risk such participation presents.

In consideration for availing myself the opportunity to register for and attend worship services, I hereby release, waive, discharge, and covenant not to sue Saint Sophia Cathedral and its employees, agents, and representatives, and their successors or assignees, from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions, and causes of action of any kind arising out of, or related to, any actual or suspected exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19), or my participation in worship services. This release, waiver, discharge and covenant also applies to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, under whose spiritual and administrative jurisdiction Saint Sophia Cathedral, Washington, DC, falls.

I further agree to release, indemnify and hold harmless Saint Sophia Cathedral and its employees, agents, and representatives, and their successors or assignees, from any loss, liability, damage or costs, including court costs and attorney fees, that they may incur due to my participation in the worship services of the Cathedral, whether caused by negligence of those released, or otherwise.

I understand that my participation in this activity is voluntary, and I voluntarily assume full responsibility for exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), or injury or loss as a result of contracting COVID-19 that may be sustained by me or my dependents, as a result of engaging in the worship services of Saint Sophia Cathedral, Washington, DC.     

It is my intent that this waiver of liability and hold harmless agreement shall bind my spouse and the members of my family, and my heirs, assigns, and personal representative(s).  I am attesting to this waiver freely and voluntarily by checking the below box on the registration platform, and also agree to sign a paper copy at the Cathedral.

In order to participate you must agree to the above terms by checking the box below, and must sign a paper copy of this Attestation and Waiver of Liability, if requested to do so, before entering Saint Sophia Cathedral for the worship service(s) for which you are registered.

I agree to:

Cancel »

Continue »