From: Saint Edward Brotherhood [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Monday, March 14, 2016 1:44 AM To: Undisclosed-recipients: Subject: Fwd: Forgiveness - Two short Letters
From: Bishop Chrysostomos
Date: 14 March 2016 00:20:16 GMT
THE HEALING POWER OF FORGIVENESS
and the Mysteries of the Church
May God bless you!
this very special Sunday, according to an ancient tradition of the
Church, we all fall prostrate (or bow) to the ground before one another,
clergy and faithful alike, at end of “Forgiveness Vespers,” saying,
“Forgive me, a sinner.” I often marvel at how powerful this act is.
in our lukewarm Orthodoxy today, when some modernist Orthodox do not
even observe this tradition, dismissing it as “burdensome,” we
underestimate its importance. On this day, a precursor to Pascha, the
Passover and Resurrection of our Lord, our hearts are quickened and our
inner spiritual yearnings—expressing our nostalgia for God and the
“other life”—are resurrected. Moreover, there is a physical quality to
this experience, such that our bodies respond to the inner call of the
Having communed and having
asked, at the Forgiveness Vespers, the forgiveness of all, Forgiveness
Sunday becomes an image of the new life in Christ, both in the heart and
in the body, bestowed on us by Christ’s forgiving Love and Sacrifice
and reinforced in us by our forgiving love for one another. This day is,
in short, a perfect image of the resurrection of soul and body.
want to share with you a letter sent to His Grace, Bishop Auxentios
today, which illustrates precisely what I have said. It is from the
young wife of one of our Priests, the mother of three young children,
who has undergone surgery and is now in the midst of an aggressive
course of chemotherapy. This description of her health issues places the
letter that she wrote in context.
hope that this inspiring excerpt from the letter, which I have slightly
edited, removing the writer’s name (though some of you know her), will
move all of you to reflect on what I have said about the power of the
Mysteries of the Church and of forgiveness.
Asking your forgiveness, † Bishop Chrysostomos
Dear Bishop Auxentios,
I want to share with you a miracle.
the past two days I've been in utter hell (there is no other way to
describe it) dealing with the drugs that I am taking in chemotherapy.
The worst thing was a migraine headache that crept up on me Friday
morning. For two days I've lain in bed in agony. Nothing would take it
This morning I was weeping. I asked Fr. [xxx] to let me commune. As I walked into our chapel, I began to weep. At the Ambon
he gave me Holy Communion. I then sat down and began to weep even more
than before. When he came to sit next to me, I began to confess my sins,
asking his forgiveness for everything that I might have inadvertently
said or things I might have inadvertently done that might have hurt him
over the past months.
did the same with me. It was an extremely moving moment. One that
we've not experienced before. As we then left the chapel, I came in to
lie down and ate some food. As of now, my migraine has completely
lifted, and this without pain medication of any kind.
find this to be a very moving experience, and especially on this Sunday
of Forgiveness vespers. I know that God is in the midst of this very
difficult time, and I thank you all for your prayers. Please share the
story. I don't think we can ever underestimate the value of admitting
one's sins, asking forgiveness for those sins, and living with a
Before we left the chapel we both sang "Awed By the Beauty" to the Theotokos. She is so pure and full of the love that we must always hold in ourselves for Christ, her Son.