On the eve of the first day of Great Lent—Forgiveness Sunday, March 10, 2019—a video message by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon was released, in which the faithful—and especially the Church’s youth—are invited to enter Great Lent in the spirit of forgiveness that characterizes the season.
“I want to begin by acknowledging that I don’t know exactly what it’s like to be a young person in today’s world, – His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, began. “You have to deal with a whole lot of stuff that my generation did not have to deal with. Unfortunately, I have no easy or quick answers to offer to you as you face the complex challenges of our new virtual reality.”
“However, even though I am no longer young like you I do remember what it was like to grow up in a turbulent world: trying to do well in school, to please my parents, to find friends and avoid fights, to attempt to be cool without getting into trouble, to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and what the purpose of my existence was.” – he continued.
“It can be overwhelming and lonely for young people to pass through the emptiness and the coldness of the world. This is not just your experience today, or the memory from my own youth, but it is in many ways the reality of human experience at all times.
“The Sunday of Forgiveness is a reminder to all of us, young and old, that none of us is alone, because we all have someone that we can ask forgiveness of, or to whom we can offer forgiveness. It’s not easy when our schoolmates and friends do not share our Orthodox faith. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t share our own experience with them: by putting up with their annoying habits, by holding out tongue when we want to call them stupid and by asking each other forgiveness when those mistakes happen.” – His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, stressed.
“Forgiveness Sunday gives us the opportunity to clean ourselves up in some way, by making a new start, and by re-establishing good relations with our friends and even with our enemies. In our schools, on our sports teams or clubs, we have a hundred opportunities to ask forgiveness every day and to offer a small expression of love from our hearts. The Church strengthens us to be an image of a genuine Orthodox Christian in all aspects of our life.
“Asking forgiveness is a simple way to be an Orthodox Christian outside the walls of our church and beyond our church communities. So, as you gather in your parishes to ask forgiveness, remember those people in your life who may not be Orthodox, who might not even be Christian. They too need to be reminded that they are loved and can give and accept forgiveness,” – he pointed out.
“In that spirit, I ask forgiveness from all of you for anything that I may have done to offend or hurt you, and I ask God to bless and strengthen all of us for a good and profitable Lenten journey,” – the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America concluded.
In addition, a series of video reflections by Metropolitan Tikhon once again will be available weekly throughout the lenten season. The weekly reflections will highlight themes found in the Triodion hymns sung on Tuesdays of each week during Great Lent. The series will be released at the beginning of each week through the lenten season.