In an atmosphere of deep emotion and reverence, on the afternoon of Great and Holy Thursday, April 13, at the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation of Our Lady, in Sydney, the Service of the Holy Passion of the Lord took place, officiated by His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
The crowded congregation reverently listened to the Twelve Gospels and the reverent hymns of the Service of the Holy Passion, while the emotion peaked when the shocking antiphon “Today, He who suspended the earth in the waters is suspended on a cross…” was chanted during the procession of the Crucified Lord.
At the end of the Matins Service, His Eminence spoke appropriately about the Divine Drama and addressed spiritual edification to the faithful who were present, among whom was the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Mr. Yannis Mallikourtis. First, His Eminence referred epigrammatically to the twelve Gospel passages that were read, which describe the events from the arrest to the burial of Christ.
Then he focused his attention on the feeling of loneliness that is discernible to have possessed Jesus already from the Garden of Olives, where he prayed for the last time, until His Crucifixion on Golgotha. He recalled that under the Cross only the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Theologian had remained, while all the others had disappeared. Then the Lord addressed John with the words: “Behold your mother”, instructing His beloved disciple to protect His mother. The Archbishop explained that Christ, with the above words, wanted to express His gratitude to John the Theologian, recognising that only he remained by His side until the end and supported Him in His loneliness.
Concluding his homily, His Eminence noted that “as I study the Gospels and try to interpret and philosophise them, I come to the conclusion that the pains that come from the nails may not be as strong as the pains of loneliness.” Addressing the congregation with fatherly anguish, he pointed out: “We will have no greater blessing in our lives than to stand with people who are going through their own trial and climbing their own Golgotha. Which may not be like the Golgotha of Christ, and it certainly isn’t, but each person experiences their own adventure, their own anguish, their own pain. Do not despise the anguish and pain of your neighbour.
Don’t despise the person next to you. Give him the opportunity to talk to you, to open his heart to you. Make every person next to you not feel alone. We are all responsible for the suicides that take place. Because we did not give the possibility to those around us, to open their hearts to us and not reach this deplorable act, to end their lives. Therefore, please, fight with your presence, with your word, with your smile, with your support, the loneliness of people. And give them love and affection, because this is ultimately what you will receive from Christ, both in this life and in the next.”