Panegyrical Divine Liturgy in the Holy Church of St. Spyridon.
On Sunday, February 17, 2019, the Divine Liturgy took place at the Holy Church of St. Spyridon the Wonderworker with the Bishop of Demetrias and Almyros Mr. Ignatios, and His Eminence the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios.
Mr. Nektarios in his address after welcoming the Bishop of Demetrias and Almiros, pointed out the long-standing brotherly love and friendship that connects him with Mr. Ignatios, who adorns the Hierarchy of the Church of Greece. It is a great blessing a day like this, where our Holy Church introduces us to the most honorable period of the year, that Ignatios is to be the precursor of the Divine Liturgy, said his Eminence.
It should be noted that the Bishop of Demetrias and Almiros was in Corfu on the occasion of a seminar on Saturday, February 16, 200 years after the founding of the Bible Society in Corfu. Mr. Ignatios is the president of the Greek Bible Society, whose main purpose is to spread the word of God.
The preaching was declared by Mr. Ignatios, who, after thanking Mr. Nektarios, emphasized the importance of the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee. With this parable the Lord wanted us to demonstrate what prayer means. On the one hand, the Pharisee turned to himself, feeling self-sufficient, and began to thank God who was not like everyone else. Christ, however, said it very clearly, the Pharisee was not justified in his prayer.
On the other hand, there is the Publican, who does not dare nor his eyes rise up to the sky. Yet, in one sentence he finds God because he feels his sin, because he did not turn to himself to be justified. On the contrary, he knew very well that before the Lord he was the last, the truly sinner, the ultimate. Repentant, he asked for forgiveness from God. He knew in his heart that all other people were much better than him. This Publican eventually justified and his prayer was heard because he was humiliated in his heart. A lively example of humiliation and simplicity is Saint Spyridon, which the Corfiots have the blessing to beg the daily grace of his graceful relic and to take his blessing and grace.
With this parable, the Church invites us to start the most devoted experience of our lives, which we need every year to repeat, because unfortunately in the course of time we are forgotten. We live in the age when we have the illusion that it is enough for us to be self-sufficient, locked in our selfishness and be slaves of our desires. With this self-sufficiency, unfortunately, the spiritual so-called people, not all of them, of course. It always throws the danger to these people to feel spiritually self-sufficient, since they are christened and strictly observe fasting and eventually lead to condemnation over their other siblings
In conclusion, Mr. Ignatios urged the faithful to ask each one the question of who he really likes in Publican or Pharisee? The answer given by everyone requires honesty, which in turn stems from the heartfelt and humble prayer of Jesus Christ.