Christ has risen and His resurrection this year was celebrated in an entirely different manner, which does not refer to what we Orthodox would call a “traditional Easter” as Archbishop of the Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Makarios, noted himself.
Churches around Australia and most parts of the world passed on the Holy Light quietly among priests and members of the choir while the Holy Saturday Resurrection Service and Divine Liturgy brought the church into everyone’s home with the help of the internet.
Makarios welcomed the ‘Anastasi’ at the Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady at Redfern in Sydney.
Thousands of faithful, tuned in through their electronic devices waiting for the triumph of life over death. During the divine liturgy the Archbishop’s message was read in both Greek and English by fathers Nikolaos Bozikis and Panagiotis Mavromatis respectfully.
“The pandemic that engulfed all of humanity created new situations and new circumstances which physically separated us from the space of the Church and distanced us from Holy Communion,” he said.
“All of a sudden, we found ourselves outside of the bridal chamber of Christ and from afar we tried to experience the greatest events of the Orthodox Church.”
Mr Makarios said that God allowed this to happen in this way for reasons that He Himself knows, adding that even from within this trial, something good for our salvation will most certainly transpire. His message continued on to say:
“I believe that one of the greatest lessons that we have learnt during this time is that, in the end, we must not lose sight of our daily and living fellowship with the person of Christ; whether we are inside the space of the Church or whether we are outside. Many times, we mistake the spiritual life for a condition that we could experience within the Church but estranged from each other. Such a thought is convenient and appeases our conscience, primarily when we have taken our neighbour out of our life. But the Resurrection of Christ teaches us the communion of heaven and earth, the relationship of those living with those who have departed, the unity of all people amongst themselves. This year’s Resurrection presents this great challenge for all of us. We experience it removed from the space of the Church, but I want to believe, not isolated from the person of our neighbour. Ultimately, the pandemic closed our Churches; it deprived us from Holy Communion, but it united all of us in the name of Jesus Christ as one great family and taught us something that for many years we had forgotten: family prayer. In the end, the pandemic helped us to understand that love is not a simple emotion. In reality, it is a mode of existing within the world.”
Watch the Archbishop’s message video here:
Mr Makarios ended his address with the ‘Christos Anesti’ wishing that next year the Holy Easter is celebrated with the congregation coming together, inside the churh.
At the Greek Orthodox Church Of Oakleigh Sts Anargiri in Melbourne, Fathers Georgios Adamakis and Ioannis Demertzidis celebrated the Holy Resurrection in the distanced presence of Kostas Deves, Neos Kosmos’ dedicated photographer.
Watch the Resurrection and Paschal Liturgy here: