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The Second Sunday of Lent in the Metropolis of Austria

On Sunday, 31 March 2024, His Eminence Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria and Exarch of Hungary presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Second Sunday of Lent, dedicated to Saint Gregory Palamas.

A Doxology followed the Divine Liturgy on the anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, which the Ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus attended, the diplomatic corps, and many members of the Greek community in Vienna. At the end of the service, before proceeding to the Rigas Feraios Monument for the Trisagion and the laying of wreaths, the Metropolitan elevated Deacon Erasmus as Archdeacon.

In his homily, Metropolitan Arsenios focused on the fact that the Lord forgave the sins of the paralytic of Capernaum and then healed him, which once again scandalised the Pharisees who witnessed the incident. “God, by forgiving sins, first heals the soul, and then the healing of the body follows,” he said.

Referring to the teaching of St. Gregory Palamas, he explained the symbolic meaning of paralysis, which is the result of passions that hinder people. “Self-reproach, confession, willingness to change, and prayer are the four means that can bring the soul closer to Christ,” he said, urging the congregation to paternally follow this path to be liberated from passions during Lent by following the Church’s program.

By participating in the life of the Church, we want to become partakers of divine acts which, according to the teaching of St. Gregory, make possible the salvation and deification of mankind by grace. The Metropolitan wished all the faithful to follow this Orthodox path, which leads through purification and sanctification to deification with Christ.

After the Divine Liturgy, a prayer on the National Anniversary of the Greek Revolution was held in the presence of the Ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus and members of the diplomatic corps. The Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic in Austria, His Excellency Mr. Georgios Iliopoulos, gave a speech in which he urged Greeks to recognise the importance of the unity of the global Greek community and to become advocates of the ideals born under the Greek light while respecting the principles of international legality. Finally, the Metropolitan elevated Deacon Erasmus to Archdeacon of the Holy Metropolis and wished him a fruitful ministry in the service of the local Church.

After the distribution of the antidoron, the clergy, and laity proceeded to the memorial plaque located to the right of the entrance to the Holy Church of Saint George, where a Trisagion was chanted in memory of the martyrs and heroes of the War of Independence. Afterwards, wreaths were laid by ambassadors, representatives of ecclesiastical communities, and associations of the Greek diaspora.