We received the following dispatch from London, from the pen of Archbishop Nikitas of Great Britain, who was featured in a Facebook live interview with Gregory Pappas that tens of thousands of our readers watched, commented on or participated in from throughout the world.
I pray that all of you had a blessed Pascha and celebrated the great miracle of the Resurrection, considering the circumstances and challenges we are facing.
I decided to take a different approach this time, as I share some thoughts with you. I have chosen to look at what we may have gained and learned from this pandemic and how it may have changed our lives in the Church.
The lockdown, in most parts of the world has, allowed for families to gather and sit in dialogue and conversation. Parents who often have limited time to spend with their children, because of work and other commitments, now found themselves being the teachers, playmates, and partners in other projects. Family dynamics changed and the changes were hopefully for the better. These unusual times allowed for parents, grandparents, and children to build and construct new bridges. Father, mother, and children all sat at the same table for meals. What a wonderful experience. These special moments should not be forgotten.
Holy Week – Pascha
During the days that the Churches have been closed for public worship, community members wanted to follow the beautiful services. Family members gathered in front of the computer and/or television and watched the services together. Parents were able to explain to their children the Easter story. The services were no longer just lengthy services with little meaning. They became a living and meaningful pageant. Together, family members walked the path to the Crucifixion and to the glorious Resurrection. The whole family lived the story of the Passion.
Since the Churches were closed to the public, many clergy and the faithful could not receive Holy Communion, during Holy Week and Pascha. The consequences of the virus humbled us and brought us to our knees. So strong were the results and consequences that the voices and appeals to heaven grew louder each day. The desire and need for the Holy Gifts was best seen in the example of the doctor who asked for the priest to come and commune her, as she feared death was coming to take her. Perhaps, we have become so unworthy of the Eucharist that God did not allow us, clergy and lay people, to approach the Chalice of Life. Now, we have to patiently wait for the doors of the Churches to open.
The Holy Light
People waited to receive the Holy Light and they were not allowed to do so. Many found comfort in the fact that they could light candles at home and follow the service of the Resurrection. Parents and children gathered in front of the online service and together chanted Christos Anesti and the real light of Christ, that which dispels all darkness, was ablaze in their hearts. The “light” was not a simple flame that was passed on from one to the next in a sea of people – most of whom leave the Church after the Resurrection. It was the flame of love that parents gave their children and smiled, and held on to the memory and cherished it. The light was not taken from the Churches to our homes; it was already there and living in the hearts of simple people. The issue is that we never understood this.
The real question(s)
The real question is how important is my faith to me. Along with this question comes the second one – what do I know, believe and live as an Orthodox Christian? and, one more – Am I willing to stand up and proclaim Christ and His Resurrection?
Sadly, there have been many deaths and countless people are suffering but we have also have had the opportunity to learn many things- about Christ, about ourselves, about our faith, about what really matters.
I offer you the following brief clip and invite you to watch it. The clergy and people are chanting “Tin Anastasi Sou”. Please watch it (to the end).
CHRIST IS RISEN!!!
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