God-loving Pastors and Faithful

of the South American Diocese

Beloved honorable Fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ!

            The time of Great Lent is at hand.  In  theyearly cycle in the life of the Church, the coming days are days of repentance.  We celebrated the Nativity of Christ andTheophany, and since the feast day of Theophany, we have heard sermons on repentance.  The preaching of St. John the Baptist, the beginning of the preaching of Jesus Christ, the tale of Zacchaeus, the parables of the Publicanand the Pharisee, the Prodigal Son, the story of the Last Judgment, the approachingForgiveness Sunday, and later, Pascha.

            Such is the cycle of church life,feast days, lenten periods, feast days, which mirrors everyday life - peaceful,tranquil days, contentment, joy, and then, whether as a result of sin or externaldisasters - sorrow, troubles,dangers and worries.

            In the cycle of each persons life,as well as of a people, Great Lent and Pascha draw near in equal measure to therepentance of each person and of all. The spirit of repentance is like a fire, it starts in one place andspreads further.

            The history of the Russian people;St. Vladimir, the baptism of Russia, the Mongol yoke, the Muscovy kingdom, theTime of Troubles, the crowning of Mikhail Fedorovich, 300 years of the mightand glory of Russia, the calamity of the Revolution, the tragic years ofcommunism, the scattering of the Russian people, are the Great Lents andPaschas of history.  The spirit of repentanceignites in disparate people and then spreads to others, as in the case of the asceticsin the monasteries or forests, like St. Sergius of Radonezh or St. Seraphim ofSarov.

            And now the spirit of repentancesmolders in the hearts of many, and when it bursts into flame, the deliverance willarrive the Pascha of our Lord.

            Let us yearn to join with thisspirit.  No one can be forced torepent.  Each of us must strive to lightthe spark of repentance in ourselves. Let each of us begin this repentance in the accepted manner knowing thatit will be a spark to enflame repentance in our families, parishes, in all ofsociety, in the country where we live and in our Homeland!

           

I humbly ask you all for forgiveness and your holy prayers!

With love to you all,

+Gregory

Bishop of Sao Paulo and South America

A Lenten Epistle to the