His Grace Bishop Macarie Drăgoi of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe was on January 19-21, 2019 on a pastoral visit to the Romanians on the west coast of Norway.
On Sunday, January 20, Father Bishop Macarie celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Haugesund in the new Romanian Parish church dedicated to Saints Macarius the Great and Macarius of Alexandria. On this occasion, he blessed and congratulated rev. parish priest Valeriu Dumitru Chiorbeja along with the parishioners for the completion of the restoration works of the sanctuary which will be carried in this year and consecrated the first bell of this new church.
In the word of preaching, His Grace Macarie focused on an episode of the Patericon detached from the life of St. Macarius the Great. “The Patericon tells us that, passing Avva Macarie with his brothers aside a child with his mother, they hear him saying: Mother, a rich man loves me, but I hate him, and a poor man hates me, but I love him. And Avva, hearing this word, remains amazed. Asked to explain what drew his attention to this apparently meaningless reply, Great Macarius pointed out: truly, our God is like a rich man who loves us, but we do not listen to Him. Instead, our enemy, the devil, is poor and hates us, but we love his uncleanness.”
Thus, His Grace Macarie explained, St. Macarius the Great found in what the little child had said, incidentally, the definition of our descendant condition of Adam, the one driven out of Heaven. “Is not this our condition itself? Are we obliged to ask whether we are craving and loving, and we are attracted by the things of darkness and all the surrogates and baits of the devious man rather than the Kingdom of Heaven of the Living God? Even we, the ones who call ourselves Christians, often find that we have willing hearts rather for those of vanity than to spiritual ones, to those that belong to eternity. For example, we’re making “all night-time vigil” much easier by losing nights at the computer with movies or games than sitting in the church at Vespers, or Matins or at Liturgy. It is much easier for us to make a step forward in our career or to make more money, but it is much harder for us to progress spiritually, overcome our weaknesses and decorate our souls with virtues. How can we become like the Saints Macarius who bear the name of happiness? What is the first condition for being happy? Having the revelation of our own spiritual poverty, aware of our state of wasting sons, overlooking the parental heritage for the world’s husks, in a word: Waking up to reality! The Savior Himself promised us that blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
On Sunday evening, His Grace Macarius baptized two children in the Romanian parish in the Norwegian city of Stavanger and completed the Mystery of Holy Grail with the priests Cristian Silviu Comanescu and Mihai Liculescu.