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Archbishop Makarios: The basic characteristics of a Christian are: “Kindness, love, gentleness and joy”

The Bridegroom Service (Matins of Holy Monday) was conducted with ecclesiastical solemnity and deep contemplation at the Church of All Saints in Belmore, Sydney, where His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia presided and Parish Priest Father Chris Triantafyllou and Assistant Priest Father Dimitrios Papaikonomou also officiated.

At the end of the service, His Eminence spoke to the large congregation, focusing on the person who is being projected and honoured by our Church at the beginning of Holy and Great Week – Joseph, the so-called, “All-Good”, from Old Testament times, who pre-figures Christ, that is, he typifies in himself aspects of the life of our Lord.

By describing aspects of Joseph’s life, the Archbishop emphasised the multitude of virtues with which he was adorned including kindness, love, compassion, charity and gentleness. He pointed out that the life of Joseph is presented as a model to the faithful by our Church which, not by chance, refers to him as “All-Good” meaning good to the highest degree. “This is how we Christians should be”, he added, “not to believe in Christ and come to church but have hearts filled with hatred; not to believe in Christ, but not differ in any way from non-believers. Kindness, love, gentleness, together with the joy of the Resurrection are the basic characteristics of the person who believes in God”.

Furthermore, making special mention of the forgiveness and long-suffering shown by Joseph, who forgave his brothers who had wronged and harmed him, His Eminence, with occasion the holy period we are sojourning, directed a paternal plea to the faithful – lay aside any possible misunderstandings, conflicts and disagreements. “Because when we leave this life, we will take nothing with us”, he pointed out, “and the only thing we will have to present before Christ, the righteous Judge, will be our good works and the love we have shown to our neighbours.” “I am convinced that all of us can become better,” he concluded, “and leave this life free from the burdens that keep us far from the Kingdom of God”.