His Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxos and the Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios, did the Divine Liturgy at the celebrating Church of St. Basil of Corfu on New Year’s morning.
Speaking to the faithful, Mr. Nektarios asked everyone to have an ethos of love, justice, peace, faith in God, so that the new year is the beginning of victory against the fear and despair that people live because of illness. Everything has to do with the grace of God and we Christians can give our own hope to all.
Afterwards, His Eminence participated in the Doxology that was performed at the Metropolitan Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of Spilaiotissa, Corfu, with the participation of the local authorities.
On the evening of the eve of the feast, Friday, December 31, 2021, His Eminence did the evening service at the Church of St. Basil of Corfu, during which the ensemble sang in the style of the local Corfu music chanting tradition by dancing with the choir.father Georgios Bogdanos , pastor of the Metropolitan Church of Spilaiotissa, Corfu.
Addressing the faithful, Mr. Nektarios called on everyone to take stock of the time that has passed and to reflect on the fact that the pandemic was used to lead to a shock to the faith, the traditions of our people, as only the Church remains in the crosshairs of so-called spiritual orders and intellectuals of our society. Does our world end up being ignorant of God? So a deeper reflection is needed, both from the clergy and the faithful. Who erred and we turned away from God? In fact, as at the end of the year, insults were added against God and against Our Lady, by people who ask to be leaders in areas that our society needs. So let us not be left without a spiritual home, but let us return to God.
The second event we celebrate is the memory of St. Basil, a man dedicated to God, who guided people to love, justice, peace, with a focus on liturgical life. He was the Great King of practice, humility, sacrifice, the minister in heaven and earth and praying for people. A very educated man, who had the worldly omniscience, which, however, was not dry, but exuded the presence of God, the grace of the Holy Spirit, leaving as a legacy eternity. He studied medicine because he believed, as the Church does today, that science is a gift from God. God has blessed science and scientists and asks them to let themselves be enlightened by the presence of God. So we should not face everything with the fear of death and nihilism, but with faith in God like the saints. And as the saint showed love through his life, so do we. Let us imitate the fact that he was a spiritual father, but also a loving brother who cared for so many people. Let us not feel helpless and let us return to the love of God, to the shining star, to the sun of righteousness that continues to dispel the darkness of sin and decay. Let us use the time of our lives according to the love of God and the saints of the Church.
For the year 2022, His Eminence addressed the following message to the clergy and the people:
“My dear fathers and fellow people, my beloved children in the Lord,
As we enter the new year of the Lord’s morality, at a time in which dominates the discussion about our health, when we see the inability of our culture to give redemptive solutions to the threat of death, it is worth thinking about what is truly the purpose of our lives, both in time in general and in the times we go through.
One modern saint, Elder Sophronius of Essex of England, writes: “The world knows nothing greater than the calling of the Christian. But the higher the purpose, so much more difficult is its realization “(Saint Sophronius, On Spirit and Life, Edition of the Holy Monastery of Saint John the Forerunner, Essex, pg. 17).
Indeed, the call to be Christians, children that is, the image of God created in His image and likeness, is the highest purpose that we could accept. And calling means an invitation from God to understand that being a Christian is the best gift a person can receive. Because a Christian is the one who believes in God, who revealed Himself to us and He became a human for us. He presented His orders to us by communicating directly with us. He went through a lot for us and He experienced the most difficult moment of our nature where death is, but he also resurrected us from spiritual death! So whoever accepts this call, proceeds with hope and is not carried away by the secular spirit that puts survival above love.
Therefore, the realization of this call has a precondition for Christ who is our way! Saint Sophronius urges us again: ” When the Love of Christ approaches us, we feel the eternity. This can not be understood by logic. God works on His own way that goes beyond logic. It is enough to keep His commandments, that is, the love for “The whole world, without distinction between enemies and friends.” And he adds: “Christ offered His divine life to those who are created in His image, but received an answer the hate. Today, after two thousand years of Christianity, what do we see? The modern world loses more and more Christ, the eternal life. The deep darkness of the sinners, hatred, oppression, wars of all kinds shape our terrestrial existence. In this case, Christ gives to those who decide to follow His command: to love even your enemies. That is why the world is afraid of such a God “(Saint Sophronius, pp. 24 and 30).
The world today lives in fear and anxiety. But it is not only the risk to physical health that is the cause. There is fear because of the absence of God from our hearts.Because the world wants us to spend time in the passions and desires of the present world, it makes us afraid that we will not be able to enjoy what we want. So when the sickness becomes dominant in our lives and we lose our true orientation.
So the new year is an opportunity for us Christians to remember every moment our call. To increase our participation in church life. Let’s experience God’s love like love for Him and our fellow people. And because “perfect love drives out fear” (1, John, 4,18) let’s trust God who loves us and will not abandon us!
Happy and blessed year, my fellow people ! Have faith, hope, Christ in life and to your families!”