On the Occasion of the Pilgrimage of the Order of Saint Lazarus to Santiago de Compostela

Pentecost - 23 May 2010

Patriarch Gregarios Preaches at San FructuosoIn the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

Today it seems appropriate to ask whether we are in Jerusalem or Compostela, since the Lord Jesus promised:

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18: 20)

After his resurrection in Jerusalem, the apostles were glad when they saw the Lord.

Today we are gathered around the risen Lord and his apostle, Saint James of Compostela here in this pilgrimage.

Pilgrimage is one of the most striking aspects of Christian worship. Down the ages, pilgrimages have been a way of communion and communication, of spiritual sharing of faith, culture, art, commerce and humanity - and a factor for living together in peace.

Saint James of Compostela, the Lord's brother, first Bishop of Jerusalem, unites us today as members of the Saint Lazarus Order, and as pilgrims from many nations.

This pilgrimage to the apostle's tomb also unites us to Jerusalem, mother of all Churches, and to the Church of the Resurrection, the supreme place of Christian pilgrimage.

We are joining the millions of pilgrims to Compostela and Jerusalem. We pilgrims are members of the Order of Saint Lazarus, which is deeply linked to the story of Jerusalem and to pilgrimage to the holy places, since the Order worked to make the pilgrims' way easier and to render humanitarian service to them and to the inhabitants of the holy places.

We wish and pray for the Order's social and health service to develop more and more in each country where the Order of Saint Lazarus is present, particularly with respect to the Holy Land, and to the projects of the Patriarch, since he is the Order's Spiritual Protector.

Here I would like to express my profound gratitude to the Order on my own behalf and on behalf of all those helped by the Order's work, with my affection, prayers and blessing. Thank you also to our hosts, the Grand Priory of Spain and to those who have worked so hard to organise this event, particularly to Chevalier Cayuela and his team for making it so enjoyable and successful. Agradable y hermoso!

We thank the Lord for having brought about the unity of the Order in Manchester in 2008 and for our splendid, active Grand Master, Don Carlos, who is always so friendly, approachable and enthusiastic.

As Protector of the Order, I call upon all of you to work for deeper unity within the Order in every one of your countries.

I would like now to add a few spiritual words drawn from our Eastern Liturgy for the three feasts of the Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost. In the hymn of the Ascension, we read, "Lord, thou hast filled thy disciples with joy, by the promise of the Holy Spirit and thou didst confirm them with thy blessing: and having thus united things of earth and of heaven, thou didst say to thy disciples, ′I am with you and no-one shall be against you. Await the fulfilment of the Father's promise.'"

Today, we are celebrating the Feast of Pentecost: once again we are living the descent of the Holy Spirit during this Divine Liturgy. We sing the hymn of the feast, which is the Church's birthday and that of the unity of all Christians in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. As Jesus told his disciples, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," so he tells us during this Liturgy and pilgrimage, "Receive the Holy Spirit, who will call to mind the teachings of my Gospel."

Dear friends, brothers and sisters, today in this pilgrimage and on this Feast of the Holy Spirit,

be strengthened by the Holy Spirit you received at baptism and who is in you, enabling you to act.

May the Holy Spirit be with you, enabling you to move forward!

May the Holy Spirit be with you, enabling you to be witnesses for Jesus in the world, in your countries, in the Order and through the Order's works and in your own professions!

Be filled with the Holy Spirit, who will be your Counsellor and Guide.

And as, through investiture, you put on your capes, so put on the Holy Spirit of Christ, in order to work for peace and to be in this world of ours, which is God's, salt, light and leaven in the lump of humanity, bringing the world to fruition and creating a civilisation of life and love.

And may the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you all, now and forever.

Amen.

Gregorios III

Ed. V. C.


Teachings of Christ

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Nativity of the Mother of God

Your nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, * heralded joy to all the world; * for from you has dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * and, having annulled the curse, He gave the blessing * and by destroying Death He granted us eternal life. (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Through your holy nativity, O Immaculate One, * Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness, * and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death. * Delivered from the guilt of sin, your people celebrate this as they cry out to you: * "The barren woman gives birth to the Mother of God, the Nourisher of our Life." (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God on September 8th.

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Our distresses are notorious, even though we leave them untold, for now their sound has gone out into all the world. The doctrines of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. Shepherds are banished, and in their places are introduced grievous wolves hurrying the flock of Christ. Houses of prayer have none to assemble in them; desert places are full of lamenting crowds. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived. All this is enough to stir the pity of men who have learnt the love of Christ; but, compared with the actual state of things, words fall very far short....

Saint Basil the Great
(Letter 90)