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Let us enter Lent with a spirit of forgiveness so that we might be forgiven for our trespasses, at The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church this Sunday.
Divine Liturgy & Forgiveness Service — 10:00 am
Join us in celebrating the Divine Liturgy on this Sunday before Lent.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
— Matthew 6:14–21
About the Sunday of Forgiveness
As we begin the Great Fast, the Church reminds us of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise. God commanded Adam to fast (Gen. 2:16), but he did not obey. Because of his disobedience, Adam was cast out of Eden and lost the life of blessedness, knowledge of God, and communion with Him, for which he was created. Both Adam and his descendents became heirs of death and corruption.
Adam’s spirit was changed from one of being in communion with God to one that utterly lacked forgiveness. When faced with their actions, Adam and Eve only wanted to blame God and each other. They lacked the conviction to seek God's forgiveness and lacked the power to themselves forgive.
Let us consider the benefits of fasting, the consequences of disobedience, and recall our fallen state. The purpose of the up-coming fast is to free ourselves from the passions that enslave us so that we might grow in love. Fasting requires prayer: for while fasting without prayer merely makes us hungry; fasting with prayer fills us with light.
Fasting is an opportunity to free ourselves from the sinful desires and urges of our fallen nature; to nourish our souls with prayer and repentance; to participate in church services; and to partake of the life-giving Mysteries of Christ. The forgiveness that Adam lacked is found in Christ.
This Sunday, Christ lives through each member of the congregation as each person seeks forgiveness from every other person; and in turn, forgives every other person in the congregation. For forgiving each other is the fruit of the Peace of Christ.
The Good Shepherd Orthodox Church, located in Clayton, Melbourne, is a living witness to the power of the Gospel and the fullness of the Christian Faith in modern, secular Australia.
We are a vibrant Australian Christian community under the direction of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand & the Philippines, within the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.
The Church of Antioch is the continuation of the Christian community founded in Antioch by the Apostles Peter (who served as its first bishop) and Paul. The Patriarchate of Antioch is the oldest of the ancient Patriarchates constituting the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.
All services are in the English language and are held in the Main Chapel of the Religious Centre at Monash University, Clayton Campus, conveniently located in the centre of Melbourne’s residential population.
Parking in the University car parks is free after 7:00 pm, but please take note of all signs regarding Loading Zones, No Standing and Disabled Parking, these restrictions apply and are enforced.