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Archbishop Makarios of Australia: “The Orthodox Church is an experience of freedom, peace and joy”

His Eminence  Archbishop Makarios of Australia, stated, “The Orthodox Church is an experience of freedom, peace and joy,”, speaking before the faithful of the Parish of Panagia Soumela, in East Keilor, Melbourne, on Friday, March 18.

His Eminence visited the Church of Panagia Soumela on the first day of the three-day pastoral tour in the State of Victoria and officiated during the 2nd Salutations to the Theotokos, for Great and Holy Lent.

Among those present were His Eminence Metropolitan Ezekiel of Dervis, Their Graces, Bishop Kyriakos of Sozopolis, Bishop Evmenios of Kerasounta, and the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in Australia, Mrs Martha Mavrommati.

In his sermon, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios emphasised the decisive role that the Virgin Mary played in the salvation of the human race, with Her consent to conceive and give birth to the Son and Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Analyzing the verses from the Service of the Salutations (Xairetismoi), he focused, among other things, on the phrase: “Rejoice, O shelter of the world, that is wider than the cloud was”, to explain to the congregation that the use of the term “cloud” is related to the “cloud” described in the book of Exodus , in the Old Testament, which had covered and protected the Israelites on their way out of Egypt.

His Eminence thus pointed out that the Virgin Mary, therefore, as “wider than the cloud”, covers all of humanity and protects like a mother all the children of the world. He encouraged the faithful, in all the trials they face, to have confidence and to pray to the Virgin Mary.

The Archbishop also described the spiritual joy experienced by the faithful as members of the Church of Christ, an opportunity which we acquired thanks to the consent of the Virgin Mary during the event of the Annunciation.

“Our Church is a Church of Joy”, he underlined and pointed out: “People who spread misery, sadness, depression, do not fit into the Orthodox Church. Clergy, Bishops, Archbishops who are oppressive and believe that under pressure someone will progress in the spiritual life, also do not fit into the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church is an experience of freedom. It is an experience of peace. It is an experience of joy “.

“Joy is an internal affair,” His Eminece explained elsewhere, adding that it is not dependent on or guaranteed by external circumstances.

“One may be very rich and not happy,” he said, “while one may be very poor but very happy.”

“You can see cancer patients and they endure happiness because they believe in Christ,” he said, “and you can see people who are very healthy but have a sadness and a misery in their lives.

Because, without Christ, human life is not meaningful. “Joy in the Orthodox Church comes from Christ and those who have Christ, they have joy, beyond any difficulty they may face in their lives.”

Finally, the Archbishop urged the faithful to try to live the spiritual life of the Church, without offending or depriving their fellow human beings of joy, either by envy, or by injustice, or by reproach and slander.

His Eminence referred to the example of the Virgin Mary, who remained devoted to the will of God, without proposing her own will and without criticising anyone, even when she saw her child being tortured and crucified.

His Eminence closed his homily with a didactic story from the life of Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia, the essence of which is the requirement to deal with one’s own sins before dealing with the sins of others.

“If we do not see our own mistakes, we will not progress in the spiritual life”, concluded the Archbishop, while wishing the faithful a good fight in the rest of Great and Holy Lent.

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