Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Shroud. Holy Friday

4 April 1980
Theme: The Mother of God, Great Lent, Love   Place: London Parish   Period: 1976-1980   Genre: Sermon

After what we have seen and heard, there is no space for a sermon; I would like only to beg all of you, when you come to venerate the shroud to come quietly, worshipfully, silently, to bow down before the living God who became a living Man to order to die, a living Man that He may die for the love of us, that we may believe that there is no limit to love divine, and that our salvation holds in this love. The only response which we can give, is a sense of exulting wonder, of quiet and serene certainty and the only fruit which we can bring to God in response is a gratitude so deep, so true, that all our life should be worthy of the trust which God has put in us, that we should live so that His death be not in vain, that His word be not spoken in vain, that our life should be to Him and to everyone who will meet us a proof, a silent declara­tion that God has (bound) human hearts that can respond to love by gratitude, by a gratitude as generous as His… When you come – come quietly, in an orderly and peaceful fashion, so as not to disturb the quiet and stillness of others; do not kiss the Holy Shroud with lip­stick – it is so offensive to see red, coloured marks on the Body of the Incarnate Son of God; albeit an icon, it is He, and who of us would leave such traces on a face of a mother, of a brother who has died… While you come, a canon will be read, which is called The Lament of the Mother of God… Stand with Her; if you feel you do not know how to respond to what you see, think of Her: She gave birth to a Child, Who was promised to be the Saviour of the world; She brought this Child to the Temple to be God’s own, and He was God’s own to such an extent, in such a way, that God brought His (Him (?) a living Sacrifice for us, that we may believe, that we may live. So, stand by Her, and if what is revealed in Christ is too great for us, let us stand by Her; everyone can understand the sorrow the pain and the hope of a mother…

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