On Sunday, 15 March, His Eminence Archbishop Sergios Metropolitan of Good Hope served the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Port Elizabeth, together with Father George Giannakopoulos. This was followed by the service of the Veneration of the Cross. During the Liturgy, His Eminence ordained Ioannis Tyropolis, who had been a psalti for many years, as a deacon.
In his address after the service, His Eminence explained the importance of the Cross in our lives of faith. He said that originally the cross was used as a tool for punishment, but through Christ’s crucifixion the Cross become a meaningful Symbol of our faith. He said that everyone is called to carry their own cross and emphasised the importance of the sacraments of the Church, which assist us to fulfil this task in our daily lives.
His Eminence warned people about the dangers involved in trusting those who have set themselves up as religious leaders outside of the Church. There are false prophets in our society who appeal to people’s emotions or material desires, but do not feed our souls with what we truly need for salvation. While such people may deliver intellectual sermons that “sound good,” they can easily manipulate people and lead them away from the truth of Christ.
His Eminence stressed that there is no room for self-ordained individuals in the Church of Christ, for her ministers receive their authority not from themselves, but from Christ and the Apostles – and this authority has been passed on through the bishops of the Church since the day of Pentecost. The Church is a living Body, whose Head is Jesus Christ, and not something that we can make up on our own. By participating in the life of the Church, we are able to come into a living relationship with God. Here we are given the means for deepening our relationship with God and becoming transformed into the people that He calls us to be.