His Eminence Sayedna Silouan visits Holy Cross Lancaster (Morecambe) on 4th February 2023: See the photoalbum here.
In the Week of the Publican and the Pharisee, His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of the British Isles and Ireland visited the parish of Holy and Life-Giving Cross in Lancaster (Morecambe).
The hierarchical visit started on Saturday, February 4th, with the memorial service and Great Vespers at the church. After the services and small refreshments, His Eminence met the parish's faithful. Every person had an opportunity to know and talk to their bishop.
On Sunday, February 5th, Metropolitan Silouan presided over the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, assisted by the parish priest Fr Jonathan Hemmings. In the homily, His Eminence focused on the three lessons about our salvation from the parable of the Publican and Pharisee. Firstly, "do something good in your life, do not do bad as the publican did". In Israel at that time, the publicans - tax collectors - were corrupt and embezzled the money taken from the people. Although our Lord shows that due to heartful repentance, the Publican is the person who went out of the Temple being forgiven by God, it does not take away from him the fact that he may have done bad to the people. Thus, the first lesson is to be good in every aspect of your life: in your thoughts, in your words, in your behaviour, and good to the people in any occupation you may have. Secondly, be good "from inside". If you want to be good, you must first be humble. Do not show off and boast about your goodness as the pharisee did. God does not need your good actions if you do not offer him your heart. Approach God with humility, as the publican did. Finally, "you need to take the Grace from God" - this is the main lesson of the parable. It is impossible to become holy without God's Grace - there is no salvation without God. How can one receive the Grace of God? One can receive God's Grace and be holy by regularly partaking in the Holy Communion. Even St Mary of Egypt, who was without Holy Communion for 40 years in the desert, repenting her sins, received it before departing this life. Therefore, come to the church and receive Holy Communion as often as possible.
After the Divine Liturgy, the faithful enjoyed lunch and spiritual fellowship in conversations with His Eminence. The visit concluded with the Metropolitan Silouan meeting and talking to the children of the parish Sunday school.