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Encyclical on Great Lent 2017 PDF Print

Dearly beloved in the Lord,

 

            On the occasion of our entry into the holy and reverent period of the Triodion and the Holy and Great Lent, I am addressing this letter to you to wish you all the best during this period and good and sacred spiritual efforts in our daily lives, so that by being in sound health in body and spirit, we shall all reach the Holy Week and the Resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ. During this period, the Church manifests its rich liturgical and worshiping tradition and call all her children to partake in the sacred Services of the days, to chant the Salutations of the Virgin Mary, to go to the church frequently during Sundays and the Feast days, to receive holy communion in fear of God and in absolution of our sins and eternal life. We should study the Gospel and engage in uninterrupted prayer and in repentance and humility ask for the absolution of our sins and the mercy and grace of the Holy Spirit, so that we can become perfect humans under Christ and in accordance with His will, who has rendered Himself eternal exemplar and calls us all to follow His steps.

            This period of the Holy and Great Lent manifests to us vividly the image of the One, Sacred, Catholic and Apostolic Church, who, like a pure bride of Christ is fighting the good struggle to receive mercy and grace from her Lord. Mother Church manifests to us the triumphs, the spiritual struggles, the tears and the prayers of its Saints who "through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight" (Heb 11:33-34) with the grace of the Holy Spirit. Let St Mary the Egyptian, St John, the author of the Climax, St Gregory Palamas and the Leaders of the fight for the Holy Icons inspire us all, strengthen us, so that we, "those who remain" may bear our own cross and hold and pass on our own spiritual baton patiently, in the certainty and hope that we have the Holy Apostles, the Martyrs and the Saints and the Righteous friends and holy intercessors and ambassadors in the sea of life.

            Our concern for the education and edification of the character of the children, the respect towards the family, the parents, the Officers and the teachers as well as the elders, our faith in God and the great values of life, the distinction of the eternal from the transient, the good from evil, the sin from virtue. The protection of Youth from narcotics and alcohol consumption comprise the duty of us all. We should not forget the humility of the biblical publican and "searching for the reverent wish, rather than pursuing the higher ones" (Hymn of the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee). We should follow and actually apply and rule of our lives the commandments of our Lord who asks us to "behave thus; feed while ourselves being hungry, water, while ourselves being thirsty, cover the foreigners in cloth, accept them unto us, those who are sick, and visit those in prison" (Hymn of Meatfare Sunday). Our active love towards our lesser brothers is a necessary precondition for us to become members of the Kingdom of God.

            We refer to the messages of spiritual replenishment manifested by the Holy and Great Lent, we are reminded of the sacred repentance, forgiveness, humility, fasting, charity and the tears with which we clear both mind and soul and purify our existence. Thus, we shall be ready to receive the Bride Christ and with him enter into the marriage of His heavenly Kingdom, which he has prepared since the beginning of the world for His servants.

            Wishing you health, joy and peace during the period of the Holy and Great Lent and that you may celebrate the Holy Passion and the Resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ, I remain with warm wishes and blessings in the Lord and honour.

 

London, Holy and Great Lent, 2017

                                                Archbishop Gregorios

                                                of Thyateira and Great Britain

 
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