Met. Luke: I’ll be first to tell repentant dissenters "Christ in our midst"
Prayer for those who renounced the canonical Orthodox Church should be a daily rule of the believer, said Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye.
On March 8, 2020, on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol pointed out to the believers that it is necessary to welcome those anathematized people who will return to the bosom of Orthodoxy through repentance. The video of the bishop’s sermon can be viewed on the YouTube channel of Zaporozhye Eparchy.
The head of the Zaporozhye Eparchy thanked the Orthodox Christians who walked in the cross procession in Zaporozhye and noted that the procession symbolizes our faith.
According to the Metropolitan, each of us has what we ask from God. Some asked for health during the cross procession, others – for wisdom. But we all asked God to strengthen our faith. The enemy of the human race will never calm down, will never leave and will tear those who follow the Lord. He who has fallen away from Christ is already in the devil's hands, destroying his soul.
"This cross procession is also a testimony to our faith," the bishops emphasized. “Do not fear to go out today and say: "I am an Orthodox Christian!", to walk through the city, not from around the corner, not quietly so that no one could see but walk demonstrably and testify: "I am an Orthodox Christian, I am a member of the canonical Church.’ It is very important."
Remembering the schismatics Filaret Denisenko and Epiphany Dumenko, all those who raised their hand on their Mother Church, Metropolitan Luke wondered if these people had ever been in the Church?
"For what has not entered the Church cannot be the Church. What has fallen away from the Church is no longer the Church," he noted.
Advocates for the OCU justify the need for division by the fact that the Church should be national, that Her gates should be open to all, that She should be love and the Gospel. But the love of OCU representatives was seen by everyone in Novi Sanzhary, emphasized the hierarch. Love for the people like them.
"What Gospel are they talking about?” continued the Metropolitan. “About the Gospel, which says that Christ was Ukrainian? <...> Or are you talking about the Gospel, where you should clearly destroy your own kind if they do not confess your ideology? Are you talking about this Gospel?"
People who are fond of worldly ideologies leave Christ, they preach Christianity without the Church, the Gospel without the Church.
"Imagine a body without a head. Is it possible? Imagine a body with a head but without a heart. Is it possible? Never. And how people get carried away with it," said Met. Luke with regret.
He noted that to love the enemy means to love because your enemy is the bearer of God's image. But one should not keep silent about the fact that he destroys this image of God with his own hands. The struggle against disease is love. But a patient with the virus is quarantined and given medicine.
"Anathema is evidence of being infected with mortal sin. "Anathema is the evidence of the inability or, rather say, an unwillingness of a person who is anathematized to heal. It's the evidence of rigidity in one's sins. And the only reason is selfishness", emphasized the hierarch.
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we heard that the Church is not a social institution, and it does not live by the laws of state or society. The Church is a divine institution, and it lives by the laws established by God Himself.
"Today, I would really like us to understand what we should do? Throwing stones at them as they did to their own kind? <...> Or to pray for these people? What does the Church call for? The Church calls for one thing – to pray, and if you call yourself a member of the Church, you should do as Christ did. And what did Christ do? "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do". This is our prayer. It is our daily rule, which we must offer to God. We must ask the Lord to reason with these people. Yes, today they are anathematized. What if they ask for forgiveness? I'll be the first to tell them, ‘Christ is in our midst!’ Yes, my brother was ill, terminally ill, but he repented and came into the bosom of the Church," says Metropolitan Luke.
On the Feast of Orthodoxy, the bishops wished those present not to be afraid of anything, not to be afraid to tell the truth, not to be afraid to testify to the world about Christ and not to be afraid of being said anything about you.