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Encyclical of Archbishop Elpidophoros for Great and Holy Pascha 2020

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Prot. No. 53/2020 Holy Pascha 2020
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

My Beloved Christians,
Νῦν πάντα πεπλήρωται φωτός… Now all things are filled with light… (Paschal Canon, Ode 2)
In this time of darkness: through the most difficult Lent in memory, through a radical reduction of our lives and livelihood, through the threat of sickness on an unprecedented scale, and the through the grievous loss of family, friends, and neighbors taken from us too soon, we have finally arrived at the dawn.
Like the Myrrh-Bearing Women, going to the Tomb λίαν πρωὶ, ὂρθρου βαθέος – “very early in the morning, in the deep of the dawn” – we are yet in the depths of a darkness from which we pray to be delivered. But we hold fast to the promise of this night:
Καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.
And the light shines on in the darkness, never overcome by the darkness. (John 1:5)
Indeed, and in very truth, “Now all things are filled with light!” The Light of Christ, Who is Himself the Light of the world, can never be extinguished. It chases away the shadow of even the darkest soul, and it burns most brightly in the human heart, which with every beat sings praises to the Lord of Glory.
He fills the world with His Light, enlightening our souls through love, forgiveness, compassion and mercy. And if this year we cannot pass that light from candle to candle, we can still pass that same light from heart to heart. The holiest fire that burns without destroying is love, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). Indeed, God loved the world so intensely that there was no suffering that He would not embrace in order to enfold us in His love. On His Precious and Life-Giving Cross, He showed us with one word that His Passover, His Pascha from death to life, would be the fulfillment for us all: Τετέλεσται! “It is accomplished!”
But now Christ is risen from the dead! Νυνὶ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν! (I Cor. 15:20) He is the firstfruits of them that slept in death, and as Lord of both the living and the dead, He is the promise, the “Amen,” of our future life in eternity.
Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, let us rejoice in the light of the Resurrection that shines across the Heavens, around the globe, and in our hearts. This dawn knows no horizon line; it shines even in the depths of hades.
Embrace the light with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Share it with everyone in gratitude and gentleness. Recognize its power to transform you and transfigure the world. And know, by faith, that the shadows we experience today are fleeting, cast by the Light Who is come upon us to dispel every darkness, and to raise us up with Him to everlasting light and life!

Χριστὸς Ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Archbishop of America

Coloring Books and On-Line Courses during COVID 19

By Renee Pappas

As we approach the third week of social distancing to mitigate the COVID19 pandemic ,  I wanted to take the opportunity to pass on suggestions to those of you who have small children or grandchildren. Keeping young children occupied while they're away from their friends, school, dance and music lessons and play dates can be a challenge.

Everyone loves coloring books and Bellerophon Books has an incredible catalog featuring Greek subjects such as "The Odyssey", "Alexander the Great", "Amazons", Greek Goddesses" and "Gorgons". Other ancient cultures such as Rome and Egypt are also featured , as well as the American West, Medieval Europe and personalities such as aviatrix Amelia Earhart and composer Amadeus Mozart.

There are also coloring books on "The Nutcracker" and "Sleeping Beauty" ballets, "Peter and the Wolf", "The Little Mermaid"  "Dinosaurs"and "Mother Goose Tales".

I discovered Bellerophon Books nearly twenty years ago when my niece, Catherine, and nephew, Nick, were children Last week I sent half a dozen to my niece's 3 year old daughter, Lillie. Through the years I would order a supply and give them as gifts to the children of my friends. When I was Director of Development at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, I ordered the Greek themed coloring books for the museum shop and they were best sellers and reordered constantly. 


If you're running out of books to read to children I would like to suggest this source, Short Kids Stories. I learned about the site through my friend, Aris Kefalogiannis' daughter,Elena who is presently studying for her Master's Degree in Journalism at Georgetown University. Her story " Mike the Spotty Beaver", along with her illustration, was just published on the website www.shortkidstories.com


Now for the grown-ups.... www.coursera.org and www.edx.org  offer courses on numerous subjects including philosophy, photography, literature and science and are offered by institutions such as Duke University, Stamford University, Yale, and Harvard. If you don't need to get credits towards a degree the courses are free. I'm presently finishing a course in Ancient Rome from the University of Arizona and one on Renaissance painting from a Spanish University. 

I believe this can be a time that we can learn and grow, so that when we emerge from our confinement, we are better equipped to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.

Stay safe and stay well.

Home Remedies to Strengthen your Immune System During COVID19

By: Yanna Darilis

During this unprecedented pandemic, it is imperative to try and remain as calm and informed as possible, mind yourself and others, by following instructions by the Health Authorities and your local Government, and above all protect yourself by staying healthy. Mitigation is a community effort, and by being mindful, and not fearful, we can get over this health crisis together, as collective conscious beings. Self care is important during a health crisis, and the best natural defense for fighting any virus is strengthening our very own immune system. The most efficient way to support our immune system is to eat nutrient dense food, full of fresh fruits and vegetables, to exclude high fat, processed, foods, as well as avoiding processed sugar the best we can. Two other important components of being healthy and boosting your immune system is to stay active and fit, and learning to manage our stress levels.

Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act

These guidelines may be subject to change and will be superseded by any SBA guidance.


This law allows businesses under 500 employees (including independent contractors and self-employed) to receive:

1. Emergency grants up to $10,000 received within three (3) days of SBA verifying borrower’s eligibility

a. What is this program called?

i. Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grants (Emergency EIDL Grants)

b. Who is eligible?

i. businesses under 500 employees that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
ii. Other organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Independent contractors and self-employed people
  • Nonprofits (501(c)(3)s
  • Veterans organizations, or
  • Tribal business concerns.

c. How do you get it?

i. Apply for an EIDL loan and request an advance up to $10,000. You will need to self-certify your eligibility and apply directly to the SBA. The SBA will provide additional guidance in the future on how to self-certify and apply: https://www.sba.gov/

d. Eligibility requires good faith certification that:

i. Uncertainty of current economic conditions makes the loan necessary
ii. Funds will be used to:

  • retain workers
  • maintain payroll
  • make mortgage payments or lease payments, or
  • make utility payments.

iii. You don’t apply twice for the same Emergency EIDL loan (i.e., no double-dipping)
iv. You haven’t already received an Emergency EIDL loan for the same purpose.

e. What can you spend it on?

i. Payroll, mortgage, rent, and other operating expense while waiting for Paycheck Protection Loans or traditional EIDL loans to be processed

f. Do you have to pay it back?

i. No

g. Do you have to demonstrate that you can’t get credit elsewhere?

i. No, not for these emergency grants related to the COVID-19 pandemic. For ordinary SBA 7(a) loans you do.

h. Who is NOT eligible for an Emergency EIDL grant?

i. Employers with more than 500 employees;

a. Exception if the SBA determines a different standard size in that industry

ii. Employers who have not been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

a. For example, if your employees are able to continue their work from home, then you don’t need this Emergency EIDL grant.

iii. Employers that have already gotten or applied for one of these Emergency EIDL grants

iv. Non-profits not allowed under existing SBA guidelines

a. For example, nonprofits that “provide services of a government nature” are not allowed to apply for these grants.

2. Forgivable loans up to $10 million.

a. What is this program called?

i. Paycheck Protection Program: This program is intended to help small and medium-sized businesses maintain payroll and overhead through the next few months so that workers are not laid off and businesses are ready to thrive again once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

b. Who is eligible?

i. Most businesses under 500 employees that are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Independent contractors and self-employed people
  • Hotels, restaurants, and other Accommodation and Food Services companies with more than 500 employees are still if the physical location doesn’t have more than 500 employees. (SBA will likely issue further guidance.)
  • Nonprofits (501(c)(3)s)

c. How much can you get?

i. Eight (8) weeks worth of payroll for full-time equivalent employees

a. Covers eight (8) weeks from the origination of the loan

b. Calculate the payroll amount by averaging either:

  • Your average number of full-time equivalent employees per month from February 15 to June 30, 2019 (in other words, the same period last year) x 2.5; or
  • Your average number of full-time equivalent employees per month from January 1 to February 29, 2020 x 2.5.

c. For seasonal employers, the SBA will determine the average employees per month based on February 15 to June 30, 2019.

d. How do you get it?

i. From SBA-certified lenders (banks, credit unions, etc.) See list of eligible lenders here: https://www.sba.gov/offices/district/ky/louisville/lender-reports/2019-k...

e. What can you spend it on?

i. Payroll (including to re-hire recently laid-off workers)

a. Up to an annual salary of $100,000/per employee. In other words, if your employee makes $200,000/year, you can only be forgiven for the amount up to the $100,000/year rate.

ii. Employee paid sick leave

iii. Employee healthcare

iv. Rent or mortgage interest (not mortgage principal)

v. Utilities

vi. Interest on other debt obligations

f. Do you have to pay it back?

i. No, as long as you spend it on the allowable costs, but you must apply for forgiveness. It is not automatic.
ii. If you borrow too much or you spend it on non-forgivable costs like mortgage principal, you will pay interest for up to ten (10) years at less than 4%.

g. Can you use both unemployment insurance for employees laid off and Paycheck Protection?

i. No, not at the same time.

h. Can I start a new business or expand my existing business with this money?

i. No, not with Paycheck Protection, but there may be other programs you could consider, such as the SBA Express Loans (see below).

i. What if I laid off employees?  Do I have to hire them back to qualify?

i. Not necessarily, but the forgivable part of the loan will be reduced if you don’t maintain previous levels of monthly employment (as measured by the averaging outlined above). The Paycheck Protection Program is intended to help small and medium size businesses maintain their levels of employment before the COVID-19 pandemic.

j. Do I have to keep all of my employees?  If so, what date is that measured by?

i. Not necessarily, but you only get loan forgiveness for the extent to which you maintain previous levels of employment (as measured by the averaging outlined above). If you used to employ ten (10) people and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you now employ three (3), you don’t have to hire back the seven (7) people you laid off, but if you don’t, you only get Paycheck Protection assistance for the three (3) employees you still have. If you did hire back the seven (7) people who were laid off, you could get Paycheck Protection assistance for all ten (10) employees.

Other resources the law makes available:

1. Up to six (6) months of debt relief for existing SBA loans.

a, What is it?

i. The SBA will pay all principal, interest, and fees on the existing SBA loans of eligible borrowers for six months.

b. Who is eligible?

i. Existing SBA borrowers who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. SBA Express Loans of up to $1 million for eligible borrowers

a. What is it?

i. Line of credit for working capital of up to $1 million

b. Who is eligible?

i. Businesses that meet the criteria outlined here: https://www.sbaexpress.loans/sba-express-loan-requirements