Memorial Service for the completion of 10 years since the late Archbishop Christodoulos’s death
On Sunday, January 28, 2018 his Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios did the Divine Liturgy in the Church of Saint Spyridon the Wonderworker, where he did also the memorial service for the completion of 10 years, since the late Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Christodoulos’s death.
In his preaching, the Bishop of Corfu mentioned that our Holy Church takes us in the Triodion period, during which more hymns are chanted while giving to the loyal Christians the opportunity to participate more with their prayers and their spiritual struggles. Christian Ascetic way of living aims to change our personal will and the mean part of our characters.
Moreover, his Eminence having as a basis the Epistle Reading of the day added that Saint Paul tells to Saint Timothy that “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. Main characteristic of loyal Christians’ life is the difficulties and the persecutions.
In his closing, Mr. Nektarios encouraged the loyal Christians to pray more and more, especially today, where the Church of Christ and our Greece are fought both by foreign but also from within aiming to change Greek identity.
In the end of the Divine Liturgy, his Eminence did the Memorial Service for the rest of the late Archbishop Christodoulos’s soul. He was also his spiritual father.
In his speech, Mr. Nektarios mentioned the following:
They that put their trust in him shall understand the truth: and such as be faithful in love shall abide with him (Wisdom of Solomon 3,9).
As from yesterday ten years have passed since the departure to our Lord of the late Archbishop of Athens and All Greece and his spiritual father. Before becoming Archbishop, he was Bishop of Dimitriada and Almyros. The memorial Service is an honor that had to be paid. It is a debt of respect to a man who devoted his whole life to Christ, to Church, to our Greece. To a man who never wanted to rest but worked really hard to give to people the hope of faith, the amount of his knowledge, the love of his hear, his free spirit, his courage, his smile to people who were thirsty for Christ and Truth.
His memory remains not only in our hearts as we owe him the life according to Christ and Church, as well as his unique blessing that we have received from his own hands during our three ordinations of priest to bishop. Above all, however, we owe him the father-son relationship that we had the honor to live by his side.
Having him as a spiritual father was a blessing as he was ready to carry our own cross along with his along with the crosses of all the people that God had told him to. And we have experienced this unique relationship for 34 years. He did not know us when he came to the place of Demetrias, young and ready, full of knowledge, wisdom, enthusiasm, program, in short with life vision. We quickly realized that only one word fit him: TRUST.
He was a guide of souls to Truth. An inspiration to dedicate ourselves to Christ. He was a Fighter. Fearless. Ready to use every means, do everything without counting neither the intensity of temptations or the opposite voices, nor powers nor principles, no ideas, nor the power of wealth. His weapon was his free soul!
And that’s what he tried to give to all of us during his life. The free soul, not only in theory but also in action. To children and young priests, he was a helper and a friend. To the ones in pain, he was a comforter. To the hungry ones, he was the one to provide food. To the seekers of the Truth and the ones who had doubts but where also open-minded, he was ready to talk about the eternity and the life after death.
To the enemies, he was the one to forgive them. To the ones asleep, he was the one to awaken them. To the conservatives, he was the one to give love and taught them the value of our tradition. To the progressive ones, he was ready to listen and testify for our Faith without hesitation, proving his own education. To his colleagues, he was the guide. To the ones far but also to ones near, he was the peacemaker. He was happy among the happy ones and cried among the ones who cried. Above all, he had a heart that loved Christ, the Church and Greece!
His soul was free. And thus, he encouraged freedom. Without being a nationalist, he was a patriot. Without being fearful of Europe, he refused to be “euroligouris” that is to abandon every part of the Greek identity for the sake of Europe. He fought for the identity of our people, for the Church to be the centre of human, he dared to tell the truth whenever needed, in the Parliaments of Europe, the rulers of this world, the authorities but also to the simple people! To the normal people. To the elderly who wanted hop and light. To the family man who wanted someone to defend his values. To the young people who wanted someone to speak their own language, within the Church. To every one of us who felt that the time of the Church had come!
He left us his free spirit as a powerful stock! His free voice proclaims “resistance and recovery”! His heart did not allow anything that was against Christ, removed tradition from the Greek identity, put education away of the good combination of Hellenism and Orthodoxy. And that’s why, he was so loved by our people and annoyed more than anyone else the ones who try to alter our identity, patriotism, the position of the Church in our society, the “wise men, the teachers of this age, the philosophers of this age” and proved them to be foolish (1 Corinthians, 1,20).
Those who believed in his words and trusted him, we will never forget him! And it is the majority of the Greeks who wonders: “Where are you, Christodoule?” It is the majority of the Greeks who still reads his words and trusts him! We will keep what he left us! We will not sell every value that we have. We believe that in the new crisis that began with various pressures to give up on the name and identity of our Macedonia, we have his words as inspiration to everyone: “Macedonia will save Greece because some part of Greece has decided to commit suicide. Macedonia is the one to hold the flags with such stories, memories and clear historical memory. No feasibilities. No calculations. Without foreign commands. No dictations. That’s why it would be great for all Greeks to visit from time to time Macedonia. To watch out their steps because the soil is holy. There may be a grave. There may be a relic. The place is scattered by sacrifice. This sacrifice gives us life. This sacrifice sustains us. And it is the antidote to globalization that wants everything to be the same. Not to talk about struggles or wars or sacrifices.”
We thank God who brought him to our lives! We thank God who allowed him to lead the way for all the Greeks, the Orthodox, for all the people who want to have their soul free! We expect him in the heavenly Kingdom to pray for us, with love! And we are certain that he does! He is close to our Lord, the one whom he loved with all his entity and prays for us not to forget our debt! We that loved him and still do, by doing his memorial service today, with prayers, tears, words and thoughts, we exclaim:
His memory, Archbishop Christodoulos’s memory, may be eternal! May his example and consignment be the basis of awakening! Amen!