17 March 2024
Today, on the very threshold of Great Lent, we commemorate the expulsion of our common forefather Adam from Paradise. The tragic mistake once committed by him — the original sin — closed the gates of Eden for a long time and deprived him and all of us of our Heavenly Fatherland. It divided the children of Adam into those who knelt down, asking the Lord for mercy and forgiveness, like meek and righteous Abel, and those who turned their backs on God, raising their hand against their brother, like proud and cruel Cain.

Since then, all mankind, the whole creation ‘groaneth and travaileth in pain together’, as the Holy Apostle Paul wrote. And this suffering would be endless and utterly hopeless but for God’s promise of the birth and redeeming deed of Christ the Saviour.
It is on this day that the Church has established the Sunday of Forgiveness as well.

Forgiveness and reconciliation are the necessary conditions for beginning a saving path of repentance, for returning to the lost Paradise. ‘For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ (Matt. 6:14–15).

Great Lent, which begins tomorrow, is a special time of repentance, that is, of deep self-reflection and correction of oneself with the help of the grace of God, a path of our spiritual cleansing and revival, and an ascent to the Holy and Bright Pascha of Christ.

The entire history of mankind from the beginning of the world bears witness of the fact that enmity among us is caused by sin, against which it is necessary to struggle constantly.

Being able to forgive is not weakness at all, it is a great transfiguring power.
Realising one’s mistakes and acknowledging them is very important for every man, especially for a man vested with power. As millions of ordinary people suffer and pay for sins and mistakes of those in power. And it puts huge responsibility for every decision and every move on those who have received power.

Unfortunately, words of forgiveness and words of repentance sound very seldom from politicians. They usually make up a great number of arguments so as to justify any of their actions. These justifications later form the basis of historical concepts. But are they capable of resurrecting the dead? Of healing the wounds of the souls of the wronged? Of correcting injustice? Of bringing back the lost years of life and lost health? And they will surely not be an argument for the lord.

I would greatly want those who are currently at the top of glory and power to realise and admit their mistakes, to start fundamentally changing the situation, and to have enough courage and consciousness, at least once in a lifetime, to ask for forgiveness for what we have lived through and keep living through in these hard and tragic days.

Today, I sincerely and wholeheartedly ask everyone for forgiveness for everything done and not done by me, for everything with which I have ever insulted someone, and for failing to help somebody in time.
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