On Sunday 20 March, the first Sunday of Lent, His Eminence Archbishop Sergios, Metropolitan of Cape Town, officiated at the service of the Holy Eucharist, which also included the commemoration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy. With him were the parish priest of Cape Town, Father Nikolaos Giamouridis, Father Deacon Michael Simos, and Father Deacon Nicholas Esterhuizen.
The Liturgy was well attended and all the congregants took part in a procession around the outside of the church. Carrying icons, they followed the clergy and psaltis in a symbolic walk to commemorate the victory of the Orthodox Faith over the heresy of Iconoclasm.
In his homily after the Liturgy, Archbishop Sergios said that we had heard the Gospel reading of Christ calling His first Apostles. He called Phillip and then Nathaniel, who skeptically questioned whether anything good could come out of Nazareth. However, his eyes were opened when Christ told him that He had seen him under the fig tree. Nathaniel then acknowledged that Christ is truly the Son of God. His Eminence said that the message for us in this reading and that we meet Christ in many different ways.
Jesus Christ gave His life for the salvation of all people – Orthodox Christians, other Christians, and those of other beliefs. We should pray for those who make our lives difficult, and for those Christians who are being persecuted. His Eminence insisted that we need not fear because nothing and no one has ever managed to take our Faith from us – and no one will ever manage to do so.
His Eminence said that in this coming week we will witness the celebration of the western Easter, but as Orthodox Christians we continue in the forty-day period of Great Lent. This is a difficult time for all of us when we persevere in prayer and fasting, preparing for the events leading up to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Pascha. He said that the services held during Lent support us in our struggle. His prayer is that God will be with each and every one of us, and enable us to win the fight.
His Eminence noted that we also celebrated the triumph of Orthodoxy over the heresy of the Iconoclasm. He wished the president of the Hellenic Community of Cape Town many years for the Orthodox Christian Community of Cape Town.