07 April 2022
Dear sisters and brothers,

I wholeheartedly congratulate you on the Great Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Despite all the horrors of the war and calls for new persecution of our Church, which have become our grim reality, our life goes on. Every night is followed by a new dawn, and time continues to run fast and tirelessly. We cannot live only in fear for our lives and the lives of our nearest and dearest ones. By God’s grace, a truly believing heart becomes home for unearthly love that casts out any fear and gives rise to an unwavering hope to hear the good news from above. It gives us a chance for establishment of peace on earth. Trials of life test the strength of our spirit and temper us. Hope, faith and prayer are things that help us hold our ground these days.

On 7 April, all Orthodox Christians celebrate a truly Great Feast. In Greek language, its name sounds as “Gospel”, that is, “Glad Tidings”.

This is where its core meaning is revealed to us – the annunciation to all humankind that the Son of God and our Saviour – Jesus Christ – will be born into our world by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
 
This is the day when we celebrate the good news that God has not forgotten us, has not left us, that our liberation and our main Victory, the victory over death, have come nearer.

The wonderful appearance of the Archangel was only half of the story. The voluntary consent of humankind to accept the will of God was also required. And the Blessed Virgin Mary gave it on behalf of all of us, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word’ (Luke 1:38). She let God act freely in her life and in our history as He never transgresses human freedom. God needs our free filial love, and not a robotic obedience according to the program built in by the creator.

This is a very important lesson of today’s celebration – if we want God to be with us, on our side, if we want Him to help us, we must come out towards Him. God grants His grace only to those humble in heart. Only those who cleansed their souls through repentance can fully perceive the good news of salvation.
 
Dear sisters and brothers, I once again congratulate you on the Great Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Let us not allow all-destroying hatred to enter our souls. Let us cast out any doubt, weak faith and despair from our hearts. Let us fill them with compassion and love, and come closer to each other in order to hear soon the gleeful news about the long-awaited peace, about our salvation, about the beginning of a new bright day when God will be with us and we will be with Him.

I wish you all peace, good health, love and all the best! Congratulations on the Great Feast!
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