Orthodox community celebrates Easter


The congregations listens attentively as Father Sergios reads the homily

The divine liturgy was celebrated by Seychelles’ first Orthodox priest, Father Sergios (Janosevic), and archdeacon Father Simon-Petros (Nellist), both of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa.

The liturgy was attended by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Seychelles, Mikhail Kalinin, as well as Seychellois, Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian, Ethiopian and Egyptian faithful living in Seychelles, and a number of Russian tourists spending their Easter holiday in the islands.

“Let all of you then enter into the joy of our Lord. The first and second enjoy your reward….All of you enjoy the banquet of faith. All of you enjoy the richness of His goodness,” said Father Sergios during the Catechetical Homily of St John, the Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople.
The victory of the Resurrection of Christ was then proclaimed.

“Let no one grieve over sins for forgiveness has dawned from the tomb. Let no one fear death; for the Death of our Saviour has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it.”

Father Simon-Petros, who is British, and formerly worked for many years at Cable and Wireless in Seychelles, was ordained a deacon in the Orthodox Church in 2010. With the blessing of His Eminence, Archbishop Dimitrios of Tanzania and Seychelles, Father Simon-Petros came to assist Father Sergios in the Paschal celebration, and during the liturgy read the Easter message of the Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II, who spoke of the need for peace between religions, especially in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Christ is risen! The joyous announcement of the Resurrection of Our Lord finds the Middle East, the place where God as Creator communed with man, still struggling with great sacrifices to look for justice, the eye of God on Earth. It finds the Middle East, the place where the Son and Word of God was incarnated so that man can become Godlike, still looking for the path that leads towards social peace; a path on which mines are being laid by the tight interconnection of politics and religion with the prevalence of radical ideologies,” said the message of Patriarch Theodoros II.

The Patriarch’s message also lamented the spread of religious fundamentalism and the  violence that it spreads, together with the lack of tolerance between different religious groups in Africa.

“It is truly distressing, now that those who foresaw the end of religions have failed dismally, to waste the reservoirs of religions in order to irrigate the field of conflicts; to waste the reservoirs of religions which, in these times of crisis, of values we are experiencing, look out for the protection of the spiritual and cultural heritage of humanity; to waste the reservoirs of religions which lie at the core of human existence.  It is time for everyone to realise that a multicultural society essentially means a multi-religious society. In this society, peace is not possible without peace between religions. And peace between religions cannot exist without dialogue between religions,” said the Patriarch.

After the Liturgy, the faithful joined together for festive celebrations at the Coral Strand Hotel that were sponsored by the establishment, with many traditional Russian specialties and refreshments served.
This is the third Easter liturgy celebrated by Father Sergios.

Contributed by the Orthodox Christian community

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