St. John the Baptist
Romanian Orthodox Church
501 East School St, Woonsocket, RI 02895
Special Announcement



Saint Patrick of Ireland

Lord, I am calling to you, hear me, O Lord.” (Psalm 140)

Dearly Beloved, Clergy, Faithful and Monastics:

These words cried out by King Saint David, the writer of the Psalms, are the words on our lips today as we reflect on the terrible pandemic which overshadows the entire world and our own Nation.  We must do more than reflect on the situation; we are called on by government and medical advisors to act in defense of our families and neighbors by temporarily restricting gathering together.

It is necessary for Orthodox Christians to consider what we are called to do. We must continue to be even more concerned for our neighbor, for others. From various official sources, we are called on to refrain from gathering in groups. Some sources indicate the maximum number of a gathering at “100”; others say “50”; and others “10.” The problem is that no one can state with assurance any particular number. No one knows, because it takes just one to be a carrier of the virus.  Is it “I?” Is it “you?” The “who” is unknown and at this time, unknowable. That is why there is no “safe” number of individuals, for each comes together from various parts of a city, from various work and service environments, bringing with them possible contamination.

We posed the question to a medical physician in the Episcopate: “Should the churches be closed entirely?” The response was a resounding, “Yes!” Considering the insecurity of guessing who might be infected with the virus, we are terminating all gatherings in the parishes; liturgical, administrative and social at least until March 31 when we will review the status of the pandemic as determined by medical and government sources.

The Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church has given much consideration concerning the action the bishops ought to take. We will review the situation at the end of March.

God is not deaf to our needs. He gives us physicians and authorities to coordinate our needs in this time of concern and anxiety. He invites us to work together, even as the Good Samaritan cared for the needs known and unknown of his neighbor.

The services usually held during this Lenten period of the church year will not be scheduled: Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Holy Gifts, Akathist, Holy Unction, Confession. If a baptism was scheduled, it should be rescheduled. Funerals should be held at funeral homes. Additionally, all meetings and events are also to be postponed/suspended.

In the meanwhile, we encourage families and individuals to pray before the family icons and to recite together the familiar prayers. Read from the Holy Bible: Psalms, Gospels, and Epistles. Say the prayers before and after meals. Bless one another with words and kind deeds. Ask the Holy Mother of God to cover us with her mantle.

The reverend clergy will offer prayers at home for the faithful. Should there be someone who is at the portal of the next life, the priest may take the Eucharist for the sick to that person.

We do NOT bless celebrating the Divine Liturgy with just the priest and cantor.

The purpose of this statement is to protect, not to punish; to sustain and to comfort. It is prepared with a heavy heart, knowing that it may cause some grief and dissatisfaction from clergy and faithful. We are hopeful, nevertheless, that it is a positive action on the Episcopate’s part in working with others to contain the spread of the virus.

We earnestly pray that just as King David cried out to be heard, that the Nations will be spared of a wider spreading of the virus, and that we soon will also cry out, “I will thank your name once more in the assembly of the virtuous for the goodness you have shown me.” (Psalm 141:9)

May our Lord Jesus Christ, the Physician of our souls and bodies, grant us protection, health, and peace!

With hope in the Lord and with fervent prayers for everyone,

+NATHANIEL, Archbishop

Special Announcement
Special Announcement regarding COVID-19

Dear Community Members and Friends,


This is a broadcast message to our Community that was sent to the Parishes in North America from His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America.  Father Onisie has shared this official document on the Church's Facebook page as well.

We have summarized this message below.  The file can be viewed directly on the Episcopate website at the following link: 

This document will be posted in several areas of the Church; please familiarize yourself with these guidelines for this period of time.

During this difficult time, we ask that you follow the common sense measures put in place by the CDC as follows:

Please pray for those that have been affected and let's hope for a quick resolution to this worldwide pandemic.

Any updates that are received by the Episcopate as it pertains to the Churches and specifically our Church; will be broadcast to our Community right away.


Be Safe and God Bless!


Rev. Fr. Onisie Morar & Nick Gassey


Guidelines from the Episcopate on How to Deal with the Coronavirus Outbreak:


  • First and foremost, if you feel sick or do have symptoms of COVID-19 (coughing, fever, sneezing, tired), PLEASE refrain from attending the Liturgical Services and seek medical attention.
  • Follow the guidelines and directions by the CDC for common sense measures as follows:
  • Anyone who helps or assists in the Altar will wash their hands thoroughly as guided by the CDC as well as wearing gloves while cutting the Holy Bread.
  • During this period, the Parishioners that attend Church Services should exercise social distancing; refrain from the normal greetings with everyone such as an embracing, exchanging of kisses and handshakes.
  • Avoid sharing items during Church; even pens and material objects.
  • All 7-Day candles will be placed on the altar by one of the Epitrops or Church Leaders that are behind the candle stand.
  • Until further notice, it is best to not bring any food or drink to the Church or in the Hall. However if there is a memorial service, please coordinate with Father Onisie and use gloves when sharing the food and ensure that everything is served in paper plates, paper cups and with plastic utensils.
  • The Church Leaders will do our best to sanitize the areas that are used often (i.e. Icons, Door Knobs etc.). At this time when you venerate the Cross or Holy Icons in the Church, please simply bow and DO NOT kiss or touch.
  • Disinfecting Wipes and Sanitizers are impossible to find or purchase anywhere (even on Amazon); we recommend that you bring your own hand sanitizer to Church and use it wisely as recommended by the CDC.
  • There will be no changes for those who wish to receive the Sacrament of Communion. We ask that when you receive Communion open your mouth wide so Father Onisie can drop the Communion in your mouth; please do not close your mouth on the spoon.  As one Holy Leader once mentioned, “the Holy Mysteries are the body and blood of Jesus Christ and are meant for healing.”  If you don’t feel comfortable receiving Communion, simply refrain during this time.
  • At the end of the Liturgical Service, Father Onisie will anoint everyone with Holy Myrrh; during this time please refrain from physical contact and kissing the Cross or Icons. Simply bow to venerate.
  • Any changes or updates from the Episcopate will be posted as they are received.
Home Prayers During COVID-19 Church Closing


Beloved and Patient Father Pastors,

Dedicated Father Deacons,

Honorable Monastics,

Courageous Faithful in Christ,


Let us give glory and praise and worship to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!


Recently, we deemed it a necessary decision to temporarily close our churches as a precaution against unknowingly spreading the Coronavirus within a gathering of our worshippers. You will recall that we urged all to pray at home with the family, clergy or the faithful. Monastics continue scheduled prayer in the confines of the monastery.


We are writing to you this short Pastoral Note to bring to your attention two services which may be prayed in our homes, namely: the Akathist to Our Lady of Hawaii and the Akathist to our Father, Polycarp (Morusca), first bishop of our God-protected Episcopate. These services may be accessed in the Romanian and English languages by clicking on the hyperlinked titles above.


This year, we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in North America, as well as the commemoration of the canonization of Saint Herman of Alaska. We remind you that many other saints graced North America and those who are beloved of the Romanian nation. The lives of some of the American saints can be found in translation into Romanian HERE, from the original English text (Portraits of American Saints). We are proposing the Akathist of the icon of our Lady of Hawaii and Bishop Policarp not to the exclusion of other saints. While not neglecting the many Saints of North America, we propose these, because they hold a very special place in the history and life of the Episcopate.


Clergy, faithful, and monastics, will recall that the holy myrrh-bearing icon of Our Lady of Hawaii blessed our Episcopate Congress in 2018. At that time, we were presented with a copy of this icon which graces our Chancery. It is fitting that we ask for the intercessions of our heavenly Mother at this time of the Coronavirus crisis in North America. She has graced numerous parishes, monasteries and institutions with her presence. Let us now call on her to cover our nations with her veil of protection, and let us give thanksgiving to our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, her son and our God, Physician of souls and bodies.


It is also fitting for us to call on the intercession of Bishop Policarp, a Confessor of the Orthodox Faith, our first bishop, who, even though restrained from returning to us, never forgot his flock in North America. We are aware that we have family and acquaintances throughout the world who also are subject to the same Virus and, of course, we include them in our prayers.


Dearly Beloved, let us make of our homes a “micro” church, a home church, as in the apostolic days. Let the time we usually set aside on Sunday to attend the Divine and Holy Liturgy be the time for family worship before the holy icons which bless our homes. God forbid that we use this dedicated time for passing enjoyments instead of fervent prayer arising from the heart of our homes.


We embrace you with faith and love in the risen Christ, our true God, whose love for us knows no boundaries of time or place.


+NATHANIEL, Archbishop


WELCOME to the web site of St. John the Baptist Romanian Orthodox Church.  On this site you will find information about our parish community and our programs and ministries. The Saint John the Baptist Romanian Orthodox Church is a parish under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America.   We are located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and although we have a small community, we try to maintain and enforce our Orthodox traditions, as well as work towards parish growth. Our doors are always open to all people who want to learn our faith and grow in Orthodoxy.


BINE ATI VENIT pe site-ul Bisericii Ortodoxe Române Sfântul Ioan Botezatorul, Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Sperăm că informaţia de faţă vă va face o impresie bună despre familia parohiei noastre, şi vă invităm să ne vizitaţi şi să vă alăturaţi nouă dacă sunteţi in căutarea unei case spirituale.  Uşile noastre sunt deschise tuturor - atât credincioşilor născuţi în America cât şi în România - care doresc să trăiască şi să înveţe Sfânta Credinţă Ortodoxă: Credinţa lăsată de Hristos apostolilor Lui, iar de la aceştia prin Biserică, peste veacuri, nouă astăzi

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For informations about Religious Services Call


You can reach Father Onisie Morar at:

401-766-3343 or for Emergencies: 401-527-7206 or e-mail him at

  Every Saturday 

 Vespers Services during Lent at 6 PM & Confessions for all who want to take Communion on  Sunday!!


Our Church

We are pleased to have you visit our web site. We hope that your visit will give you a glimpse of the Orthodox Church through the parish community of Saint John the Baptist Church Woonsocket.  We want to extend our sincere invitation to visit and worship with us.

From the Web Master
This site is updated frequently. Please let us know if you notice any errors, so that we can correct them. We are also very grateful for any suggestions as to how to make this site more informative.
  • This is page was made possible by an anonymous donation. 
  • God Bless!