Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings as we celebrate the New Indiction and begin a new Church year.
This is a great sense of newness, this year, as we celebrate not only the New Indiction, but the election of a new First-Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and the accession of a new King to the throne of Great Britain. Both Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, our Metropolitan-Elect and King Charles are in our prayers as we reflect on the passage of time, renewal, endings and new-beginnings.
And, this Church New Year must also be a time of reflection and renewal for each and everyone of us, as we contemplate that time is not infinite and that we must receive this year and every day as a gift from God for our spiritual renewal through repentance and growing in the spiritual life.
Like our departed Metropolitan Hilarion and the late Sovereign, we too will pass from the world when the Lord calls us, at a time of His reckoning and not of our volition.
Mindful of this, we must constantly live with the words of Blessed Seraphim of Platina echoing in our ears. “It’s later than you think!”
Each hour, each day, and each year should bring us closer to God, and see us further perfected and purified, as the image of God is restored in us, but we have to question whether this is the reality of our lives.
In the past year, has the image of Christ become clearer in us? Have we reflected Him ever-clearer, as mirrors polished through prayer, virtue and repentance?
Have we grown closer to Him and have we drawn closer to the Gates of the Kingdom? Or, have we stood still or, indeed, moved one step forward and two steps back?
Have we tackled the spiritual problems and illnesses which beset us and taken the medicine of repentance to recover – even if that medicine is bitter?
Have we sought to overcome the passions which may have held us?
These are the questions to ask as we receive this Church Year as a gift from God: a gift of time and the opportunity to journey towards His outstretched arms and paternal embrace.
But though this should be a time for sobriety, this is not a time for gloom, and we must begin the Indiction thankful not only for a new year, but also for all of the gifts and blessings of the old year: personal blessings, blessings upon our families and parishes, blessings upon the Church and nation and, in the words of the troparion we pray:
“O Fashioner of all creation, Who in Thine authority hast appointed the times and seasons: bless Thou the crown of the year with Thy goodness, O Lord, preserving in peace Orthodox Christians and Thy city, and save us through the prayers of the
May God bless you all, and let us begin this year of grace with spiritual purpose and the clear vision of the spiritual journey before us, as the spiritual destination of every year must be the Kingdom of Heaven and the life of the age to come.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark