Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Message to Orthodox Youth for Great Lent from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Inviting Orthodox young people to participate in the spiritual struggles of Great Lent, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the following words to them:

"Fasting and asceticism are not externally imposed heteronomous disciplines, but a voluntary respect for ecclesiastical practice, an obedience to the Tradition of the Church, which is not a dead letter, but a living and life-creating presence, a timeless expression of the unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity of the Church.

The Holy and Great Church of Christ has dedicated this coming year to the 'pastoral renewal and beneficial care of the youth,' calling Orthodox young boys and girls to participate in the spiritual struggles of Great Lent, to experience its anthropological depth and its liberating spirit, so that they may understand that Orthodox asceticism is the path towards freedom and existential fulfillment within the framework of blessed ecclesiastical life, the core of which is 'speaking the truth with love.'

The Orthodox youth are called upon to discover the holistic character of fasting, which in the Triodion is hailed as 'the beginning of spiritual struggles,' as 'the nourishment of the soul,' as 'the mother of all good things and of all the virtues.'"

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.