The present coronavirus crisis has divided opinion. There is a minority who say that they do not fear anything and we should continue as usual. They look on those who follow government instructions to the letter as blind zombies, victims of government and media propaganda, who lack faith and believe too much in their own reason. For the majority, however, such people are just crazy and irresponsible conspiracy theorists who should be locked away, as dangerous to the public.
It seems to me that, as Christians, we should not fear. Faith does not fear. We do not fear death. We are not cowards. We have courage. However, on the other hand, all wise and reasonable precautions must be taken. To disobey the law is wrong. Irresponsibility must be condemned. And there is no contradiction between faith and responsibility. Over 90% of the victims of the virus are aged over 70. We may not feel that we are going to suffer. But this is pure selfishness. We can spread it! Think of others.
We should be praying especially for the elderly and the sick. Thus, for the moment there are hardly any victims in Africa, where there are few old people, but in Italy at present over 90% of victims are over 70 and there are hardly any victims under the age of 50. But also we should pray for those who are depressed and anxious, for those in big cities like London, where the situation is disturbing, unlike in the countryside and in small towns, where all is quiet. And also we should pray for the self-employed and disabled, who lack money, and those with children who live in flats. And also for the USA, where there is no health system for tens of millions and much homelessness and other diseases, and there may, God forbid, yet be large numbers of victims.
There is now a Facebook fashion of applauding heath workers at 8.00 pm. It would be better to pray. And on Mt Athos this evening (Friday 27 March) (beginning at 5.00 English time) begins an All-Night Vigil to the Mother of God and St Haralampius, whose relics have often delivered from epidemics. This is the evening is when at any time we should all pray, perhaps reading an akathist to the Mother of God. The world has forgotten that miracles can, depending in our faith, happen. We have not.
Akathists in Slavonic:
Akathists in English (We have substituted the akathist to St Panteleimon since, as far as we know, there is no translation as yet into English of the akathist to St Haralampy)