On Sunday 14 January 2024, in the Holy Church of Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner of the Germiston Hellenic Community of the Holy Metropolis of Johannesburg and Pretoria, as is custom every year a week after the Feast of Theophany, the festive celebration of the community in Johannesburg was traditionally held. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was presided over by His Grace Bishop Nicodemus of Nilopolis.
In his sermon, His Grace Bishop Nicodimos referred to the person of the Holy Forerunner and to the meaning and value of repentance, which is the historical call of the Church to every human being.
“When Christ calls us to repentance what he wants is for us to acquire a permanent desire to unite with Him, to get out of the suffocating limits of our selfishness and surrender to the vast space of God’s love. All this, my brothers and sisters, is not easy, that is why we say that repentance is the constant spiritual work of man, it is an unceasing struggle. Let us not forget, however, that repentance is not our achievement, but a gift from God himself who can give it to us precisely because “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, since Christ has come and can offer us the communion of His love”.
At the end of the sermon, His Grace conveyed the paternal wishes and blessings of His Beatitude Pope and Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria.
Before the end of the Divine Liturgy, the forty-day memorial service of the late blessed Father Gerasimos, Parish Priest of the local community, was served.
After the Eucharistic Gathering in the hall of the Holy Church, the blessing of the community’s Vasilopita took place and an official meal was served, followed by festive events and traditional dances.
Showing obvious joy by the presence of the people, His Grace Bishop Nicodemus urged them to remain firm and unwavering in the principles and values of the Orthodox Christian life, emphasising at the same time the value of conscious participation in the Sacraments of our Holy Church.
Our thought and our prayer every day is how to lead more people, young and old, towards illumination in Christ. We give the testimony of Jesus Christ every day, where we offer everything, all for the glory of God alone. Thus, the apostolic work is completed and God is revealed to each person.
He conveyed the wishes of Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria, the missionary Patriarch, who becomes a sacrifice for his flock, with charity, affection, sincere love and support for the thousands of needy families, the families with many children, the unemployed, the elderly and the youth whom he loves and who are a priority for him.