Archbishop Makarios of Australia presided over the Service of the Akathist Hymn behind closed doors, on Friday the 3rd of April at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Theotokos, in Sydney.
Thousands of believers, who were not allowed to go to church due to the precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus, watched online one of their most favourite services, which is dedicated to the Theotokos, the Mother of all Orthodox Christians.
“We regret that this service is being performed behind closed doors, away from our people, who love the Service of the Rejoicings so much and feel relieved when they go to church to glorify the Virgin Mary. We are aware of their pain, which is as great as ours.”
The Archbishop of Australia pointed out, “We, the Orthodox Christians, do not only believe in Christ and in our Holy Church in times of prosperity but also in times of great trials.” He referred to the trial of the coronavirus pandemic and emphasised, “We must realise and truly believe that we are children of God, we are children of the Virgin Mary, and we are not afraid of anything.”
Archbishop Makarios was optimistic about the outcome of the pandemic and, therefore, he urged believers to keep their faith in Christ and to appreciate the fact that the present trial will help them spiritually. “It is now a challenge for all of us to show confidence in Christ and in the Holy Church,” he said. “I am sure that, next year, we will sing the Akathist Hymn of our Most Holy Lady all together. I am sure that it will be a better year. However, I do not know if through this great ordeal the spiritual benefits will be greater than in the coming years when we will be allowed to go to church,” he concluded.