Митрополит Антоний Сурожский

Forgiveness Vigil

March 17, 2002
Theme: Great Lent   Place: London Parish   Period: 2001-2003   Genre: Sermon

We are starting today our dread journey together with the Lord Jesus Christ to Calvary. All these weeks Christ will be moving step after step towards His own death, the death He has accepted, indeed chosen, that we may be saved.


We cannot go side by side with Him if we are not at one with Him. We cannot go with Him along that path as Judas walked or as so many people in a crowd did walk, laughing at Him, indifferent to Him – ‘Let Him die if He wants to save us that way’.


Let us therefore, as we start today on this journey ask one another for forgiveness, not formally, but from the heart.  Let us ask forgiveness from those who are not here, the many who have died without our having had the courage and the purity of heart to ask them for their forgiveness or those whom we allowed to die without having forgiven them.


And let us start on this journey with Christ, day by day, shedding bitterness, anger and asking for forgiveness.  And I on my side will not be able to come to the middle of the church because I do not feel strong enough today.  But I beg you, I really beg you to forgive me. I stand condemned before each of you for having been an unworthy priest and an unworthy Christian. Pray that I may have time to repent and to change. I have no reason to forgive anyone. You have been to me, all of you, and the many who are not, so merciful, so merciful. But you have reason to forgive me.  The Lord said that you will be judged by your words, I have spoken words of truth but I have not lived up to them. I have not been an example to you. Forgive me if you can.


And let us start this dread journey to Calvary with Christ loving one another. And loving does not mean being sentimental,  not even liking one another to begin with,  but saying we are one, we are walking with Christ, He forgives us, He accepts us. Let us forgive and accept one another.

Before you go to the centre and bow before the icon of Christ, asking for His forgiveness, for the forgiveness of the Mother of God, whose Son has been crucified because of each of us. Let us forgive one another. Forgive me, brothers and sisters.


May God’s blessing be with you, not mine, but God’s.  Forgive me.

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