Homily for the Second Sunday of Great Lent in the Orthodox Church
Hebrews 1:10-2:3 | Mark 2:1-12
Think for a moment how you would feel if you went to the doctor with a serious health problem and were simply told medical facts about your condition and that you were an interesting case. You would probably not be happy at all because you go to a physician to be healed, not simply to learn truths that in and of themselves do not restore you to health.
On this second Sunday of Great Lent, we remember a great saint who knew that our salvation is not in mere ideas about God, but in true participation in His life by grace. St. Gregory Palamas lived in the 14th century in the Byzantine Empire. A monastic, a bishop, and a scholar, he defended the experience of hesychast monks who in the stillness of deep prayer beheld the divine light of the uncreated energies of God. In ways that go beyond rational understanding, they saw the divine glory as they participated in the life of God by grace. Continue reading
The Consecration (‘Εγκαινια’) of St Vasilios Church took place on Sunday 27 August 2006, presided by His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos. (Click on images to enlarge).
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
“A fish that is alive swims against the flow of water. One that is dead floats down with the water. A true Christian goes against the current of sinful age. A false one is swept away by its swiftness.”
+ St. Philaret of Moscow, Orthodox Life Vol. 63 No. 3
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
The candles lit before icons of saints reflect their ardent love for God for Whose sake they gave up everything that man prizes in life, including their very lives, as did the holy apostles, martyrs and others. These candles also mean that these saints are lamps burning for us and providing light for us by their own saintly living, their virtues and their ardent intercession for us before God through their constant prayers by day and night. The burning candles also stand for our ardent zeal and the sincere sacrifice we make out of reverence and gratitude to them for their solicitude on our behalf before God.
+ St. John of Kronstadt
Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-40 | St. John 1: 44-52
At the end of Liturgy today, we will parade around the church carrying our icons in celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, which commemorates the restoration of icons to the church after the period of iconoclasm many centuries ago. We do so because Icons are not mere works of decorative art to us; they are windows to heaven which remind us that the Son of God really has become one of us, with a visible human body, and that we are called to become like the saints whose images are portrayed in them. For we are all icons of God, created in His image and likeness. Jesus Christ is the new Adam Who has restored and healed every dimension of our fallen humanity, and brought us into the very life of the Holy Trinity. It may help us to think of Lent as a time to make ourselves better icons of the Lord. Continue reading
Forgiveness – The Hardest Love of All by Fr. Stephen Freeman
I cannot think that any of my readers is a stranger to forgiveness, either the need to be forgiven or the need to forgive. The need to forgive, according to the commandment of Christ, extends well beyond those who ask for our forgiveness: we are commanded to forgive our enemies – whom I presume would rarely want to ask for our forgiveness. Continue reading
A very solemn and beautiful way to enter the period of Great Lent.
His Grace Bishop Ezekiel of Dervis will be presiding together with His Grace Bishop Iakovos of Miletoupolis and they will be joined by all the Clergy of Melbourne. At the completion of Vespers, we enter Great Lent by seeking the forgiveness and blessing of our Clergy as well as from one another.
Sunday 13 March, 6.30 – 8.00pm
St Eustathios Church, 221 Dorcas St, South Melbourne