Churches in France reopened today, on Sunday of the 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, and the faithful were able to attend the church services.
Bishop Maximos of Melitene presided over the Archieratical Divine Liturgy at the Church of Saint Stephen in Paris. It is noteworthy that the faithful followed the strict instructions given by the French State regarding the protection from the coronavirus pandemic.
In his homily, the Bishop referred to the need for unity within the Orthodox Church, as it was mentioned in the Archieratical Prayer that was read today from the Gospel of John. Bishop Maximos of Melitene underlined the phenomena of extremism within the Church that create polarisation and strike divisions: “Secularisation and disrespect for church traditions, on the one hand, envy and fanaticism, on the other hand, devour the body of the Church and strike divisions. So let us not listen to the voices that seek to disorientate us and take us away from the Church. We will not get to Heaven without our fellow human beings. We will not be able to achieve this on our own,” he said.
“In our faith, there is no way of finding a middle ground. The only way is to remain steadfast to our faith in the Lord. So, we must not confuse our unconditional devotion to God with our love for our neighbour, especially for the one who needs our love and does not merit neither our condemnation nor our arrogance,” he added.