Bishop of Corfu, Mr. Nektarios: Saint Spyridon unifies Orthodoxy
With ecclesiastical nobility, despite the adverse weather conditions that did not allow for the established litany, Corfu celebrated the First Sunday, namely the commemoration of the supreme miracle of St. Spyridon, who in 1673 saved the island from plague. In the chapel full of faithful pilgrimage, in the presence of the authorities of the place, on Sunday morning, November 3, 2019, a Hierarch’s Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Bishops Vesthenius Theocletus, who was also ordained by His Eminence Bishop Roussoulos. Mr. Dositheos (from the Church of Georgia) and the Assistant Metropolitan of Corfu, Paxoi and the Diapontian Islands Mr. Nektarios.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the sanctuary was instituted and the altar was exited and the prayer and wishes for the commemoration of the miracle of 1673 by the Bishop of Corfu were read. The holy shrine remained inside the temple due to the torrential rain, while the Corfu Old Philharmonic performed during the renovated tradition.
Addressing the Bishops and the church, the Bishop of Corfu Mr. Nektarios emphasized that Saint Spyridon unites Orthodoxy by bringing faithful people from many parts of the world, giving us courage, hope and strength in times of atheism, spirituality and material poverty. His timeless setting is a lasting miracle!
During the Divine Liturgy the Divine Speech was preached by His Eminence Bishop of Vrestheni, Mr. Theoklitos, who pointed out that Saint Spyridon is a saint who touches on the Orthodox Church and not only Corfu. It’s timeless. This is also evidenced by the constant co-operation of bishops and clergymen next to his sacred scripture, as well as by the confluence of the sacred pilgrimage.
Mr. Theocletos then linked the sanctity of St. Spyridon to the immortality of the soul, on the occasion of the parable of the rich and Lazarus. It is only once people die, he stressed. Death is democratic because it does not count for office, wealth, age, gender. We did not lie to die, but death came as a result of the protagonists’ selfishness. We were deceived by God to taste immortality. But to do so, we must believe, live by God, and remain persons. Point the person’s name. In the parable we know the name of poor Lazarus. The rich man lacks the grace of God and remains unknown to God, even though he was known to men. When grace leaves man, he ceases to be a person. Lazarus is a person and that is why Christ gives his name.
Lazarus endured, was silent, did not criticize, remained faithful to the mercy of God. That is why the Angels also took his soul in the bosom of God, while the rich soul went to Hades. God does not forget whoever tries to live in harmony with His will is a humble, humble, man of love. Being far away from God, the living endlessly end up outside God’s arms. They see Paradise, but they cannot live paradise. And the gospel refers to the average state of souls after death and not to the resurrection of the dead. Other souls come from Paradise, others from hell. There is no repentance after death. The only help is the love through prayer and memorials.
That is why the parable reminds us that as we leave life, man is not lost. The soul awaits the resurrection of the dead, death is sleep, and the cemeteries are called cemeteries!
So our souls remain immortal. The Assumption of Our Saints, their relics and even the indestructible ones, such as that of Saint Spyridon, reveal the continuity of life. The saint blesses us and sanctifies us. Let us not be afraid of death, but be full of works of goodness, love, humility, solidarity, united in the Church, having the common purpose of the kingdom of heaven and paradise.
Concluding his thoughts, the Bishop of Vrestheni wished Corfu to continue to celebrate the saint for centuries, to gain strength and to fight to overcome death and to have a life of God in his own prayers.