On Saturday afternoon, February 10, 2018 Episcopal Vesper with the breaking of the loaves for the co-protector of Corfu, Saint Theodora the Empress and Saint Vlasios in the Holy Metropolitan Church of the Virgin Mary the Spilaiotissa, where there are placed the Holy Relic of Saint Theodora along with a bone of Saint Vlasios.
His Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios did the Episcopal Vesper. Members of the Ecclesiastical Music Choir of the Holy Metropolis “Agios Arsenios” sung various chants under the direction of the professors Mr. Nikolaos Makropoulos and Mr. Georgios Ladovrechis.
In his preaching, the Bishop of Corfu analyzed the Apolytikion of the Saint Theodora and pointed out that the co-protector of Corfu became a beauty of Orthodoxy because she honored the sacred images. As an Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire, she ratified the decisions of the 5th Ecumenical Synod. The loyal Christians worship the sacred images and receive the Grace of the depicted person. We as Orthodox, do not worship the materials, from which the image is made, but we honor the person depicted. The heretics cannot understand this over the centuries.
Moreover, his Eminence stressed that Saint Theodora the Empress promoted the humans according to God by image, who, spiritually struggling, tries to be like Him. And what does it mean to be like God in image? It includes all the gifts given by the Triune God to humans, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, namely, love, peace, joy, goodness, righteousness, gentleness, patience, self-restraint, humbleness and faith. The target of the faithful is to communicate with God in order to form in his/her heart Christ. Unfortunately today, the modern humans rejected Christ from their lives and as a result, they have been demonized. Instead of love, hatred and vice prevail, instead of humbleness, the demonic egoism. Instead of gentleness, anger. Everything has been distorted in this world we live. We receive the fruits of our distancing from the source of the goods, our Lord, Mr. Nektarios said.
In his closing, his Eminence urged the faithful Christian to imitate the life of both Saint Theodora the Empress and Saint Vlasios, to spiritually struggle in order to unite with the Triune God.
By the end of the Vesper, the Bishop of Corfu ordained Konstantinos Gisdakis as a Reader, son of a priest and student of the Ecclesiastical High School “Vellas” of Ioannina.