The first Vespers of the Great Lent, the “Forgiveness Vespers”, was celebrated on Cheesefare Sunday, March 1, at the packed with faithful Holy Trinity Cathedral in Redfern, Sydney.
Archbishop Makarios of Australia officiated at the Liturgy, concelebrated by Meropolitan Seraphim of Sevasteia and the Protosyncellus of the Holy Archdiocese, Bishop Aimilianos of Meloa.
“The Great Lent period is a cause and a great challenge for renovation and transformation,” the Archbishop emphasized in his sermon, urging believers to keep these two words in thought and especially in their hearts. “This is a period of human evolution and progress, in which we are all called to strive to be better, correct our weaknesses and passions, confront our sins, participate more in the Church’s celebrations, Mysteries and the Holy Communion, make more alms, pray and fast more than we do during the rest of the year,” the Archbishop noted.
Then, Archbishop Makarios, analyzing the meaning of the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, saw that for the Orthodox Church what matters more is not the virtues per se but the humility born of the virtues.
A second shocking message comes from the parable of the Prodigal son, who, as the Archbishop pointed out, should be called the parable of the “merciful father.” The shocking message of this parable is that “love is what ultimately wins.”
Finally, Archbishop Makarios fatherly urged the faithful, but also the bishops and clergy of the Church, to avoid interfering with and disturbing the lives of other people.