Dear Clergy and Faithful of the Metropolis of San Francisco,

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” –Matthew 18:20

By now you are aware of the updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which many states and localities are adopting. The CDC has stated that people in the United States who have been fully vaccinated can resume pre-pandemic activities, indoors and outdoors, without wearing a mask and with no social distancing, except where required by local or state guidelines or business restrictions.

In following the guidelines of the CDC, we will no longer be requiring reservations for services. Our parishes should continue safety measures (hand washing, social distancing, masks) as they deem appropriate and in accordance with local and state guidelines. Parishes may continue to offer live-streaming services.

As Christians, we have an ethical obligation to protect all people. Those not fully vaccinated are recommended to continue to wear masks in order to protect themselves and others from potential exposure. As faith, trust, and love are guiding principles for us as Orthodox Christians, we will not ask nor require proof of vaccination.

We must demonstrate respect and love as a Christian family to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, some of whom may wish to continue to wear masks during worship. There are still groups of people unable to be vaccinated (children under 12) as well as others who may have a condition or take medications that weaken the immune system and, even though vaccinated, may not be fully protected. Even after vaccination, some may need or merely wish to continue taking all precautions.

We have navigated through the uncharted waters of the pandemic for 16 months, and I am profoundly grateful to our clergy and faithful in our entire Metropolis for their patience and cooperation with regard to the adherence of federal, state and local guidelines to ensure the health and safety of our congregations.

Praying that our Lord God may continue to grant us His Divine love and protection, as we continue to worship Him with one mind, one heart, and one voice, I remain,

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco