Letter from Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta on Mask Wearing

August 19, 2021  

My Beloved concelebrants in the Lord,  esteemed Parish Council Presidents, and all the faithful of the Metropolis of Atlanta,

I greet you with love and joy in the name of our Lord and Savior Christ, as we prepare to come to the end of one Ecclesiastical New Year and the beginning of a new one!

The Metropolis is ever mindful of the changing situation concerning COVID-19 and its Delta variant. As your Metropolitan, I am also aware that public health guidelines are subject to change. As late as last week, I have encouraged our communities to determine their procedures concerning masks by comparing them against any recent updates to your national, state & local health codes.

With all these things in mind, it is important to consider that also late last week, the CDC published its latest guidelines "Use Masks to Slow the Spread of COVID-19" (available by clicking here), in which they state that masks should be worn by those, "including children older than 2, who are not fully vaccinated [and] fully vaccinated people with weakened immune systems." Finally, the CDC writes "To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission."

The serious reality is that many of our cities throughout the Metropolis currently fall under the rates of substantial or high transmission. Therefore, as stated last week, I must ask our Clergy and Parish Councils to strongly encourage all parishioners to resume wearing masks to slow the spread of the Delta variant.

Though I understand that this is now a subject which has developed many feelings and opinions, as your Metropolitan, my first and foremost duty before God is to honor the health and safety of the flock He has entrusted to my care. As Orthodox Christians, we must remember "...your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you..." (1 Corinthians 6:19) and "...the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14) I remain,

Yours with paternal love and blessings in our Lord,

+ A L E X I O S
Metropolitan of Atlanta