On this 5th and last Sunday of Holy Great Lent, the Church puts forward the figure of St. Mary of Egypt as a prime example of sincere repentance. We know that the whole of Great Lent is focused on repentance, and we do so by fasting, kneeling, making prostrations, and enduring long Holy Services. Even with all of this, some may still have doubt in their hearts. Can I, who have committed grave sins, be forgiven by God? The life of St. Mary of Egypt answers this question.

Today, on this Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate St. John the Sinaite, also known as St. John Climacus” (Ladder). Although the Saints feast day is on March 30th, the Church wants to highlight the narrow path of asceticism and virtue on this particular Sunday of Great Lent, and St. John is an exemplary guide in following this path with sincere love for Christ.

The Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross is today! With a spirit of celebration and surrounded by flowers, the Precious Cross of Christ is placed in the center of the Church. All of the faithful come forward to venerate the life-bearing Cross of Christ, with profound devotion in gratitude for everything that It has already given to us, and what It continues to offer. We are now halfway through Great Lent, along with the spiritual and ascetic struggles that go with it. As todays Synaxarion explains, the Church presents to us the life-giving Cross in order to refresh and comfort us, as we endure the hardships of fasting. The Precious Cross is like a tree with many leaves that a weary traveler sees on a long and harsh journey. Just as the traveler stops to rest in the shade before continuing, so we too rest in the shade” of the Precious Cross. In this we are given the strength and grace to continue our fight in the Spiritual Arena, for the rest of our lives.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

I feel the need to reach out to you these days, when everyone is going through such an unprecedented suffering, and, of course, we all share this pain.

Due to the rapid spread of the virus, as you know, the Governments, in order to protect their people from this great danger, have been forced to take harsh restrictive measures to avoid the crowding in many public places, even in places of worship of any religion.

Brother hierarchs and beloved children in the Lord,

From the Phanar, from the heart of the Queen of Cities, from the City of the Great Church and of Haghia Sophia, we are communicating with each and every one of you – women, men, and children – because of the unprecedented conditions and tribulation that we are facing as a human race as a result of the global threat posed by the pandemic of the new coronavirus, called Covid-19.


Schedule of services on April 2021

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