To the Most reverend archpastors,
honorable clergy, venerable monastics and pious faithful of the Patriarchal
Exarchate of South-East Asia
My beloved in the Lord!
My sincere feelings and pastoral responsibility impel
me to address you, my dear ones.
The deadly disease is striking more and more people
in another trial permitted by God on Earth. Those especially suffering are the nations
within the canonical responsibility of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Southeast
In its many centuries of history, the humankind
has repeatedly confronted similar suffering. The Church has always remained
with its people, courageously grieving together with them, helping to overcome
the difficult trials, and imploring our Lord and Savior to help in a speedy
cessation of the epidemics. The faithful took upon themselves additional
fasting, carried out processions and special services of supplication.
Our Christian love and compassion urge all of us
to strengthen our prayers for people in grave peril.
I call upon all Orthodox Christian communities of
the Patriarchal Exarchate to conduct the special service of supplication (Moleben)
for a speedy recovery of the sick and for the cessation of the spread of the
With the intercession of the Most Pure Lady
Theotokos and all the Saints, may God have mercy on us all!
Sundays we have been preparing for Lent of repentance, considering its biblical
examples at the Liturgy. However, neither the story of Zacchaeus, who
distributed half the estate to the poor (LK. 19: 1-10), nor the story of
another publican who initiated the Jesus prayer (LK. 18:10-14) are as
impressive as today’s parable of the prodigal son (LK. 15:11-32). This one
contains the whole history of our salvation, from the fall of Adam to eternal
joy in the Father’s house. It is sad that the way to God for many passes
through the country of swines, and only troubles make us remember that we have
a Helper and a Protector. But it is even more terrible that formal
righteousness kills love, and, because of envy, itself refuses the feast of
eternal life, leading to spiritual suicide.
is that the formalist, alike Pharisee, while fulfilling the commandments, wants
justice from God in return. But… he doesn’t need God himself! While God
wishes love from us. Because He is a Person, not a soulless karma. And what is
love? Here it is: “I want not your possessions but you”(2 Cor.12:14).
Love forgives everything, covers everything, and pays for everything; you
should not expect “justice” from love. The father’s love for the
unlucky son cost him a large part of his estate and tears, while the Heavenly
Father paid for his love for us with the blood of His Son. Since He did not
condemn either the prodigal or the publican, we can only imitate them in
repentance and forgive everyone, remembering: “All that you have done to
people, you have done to Me” (see Mt.25: 40, the Sunday of the Last
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