February 2024 English Newsletter Posted May 23, 2024 by admin


My Beloved the Benevolent                  February 2024

Grace and peace, wishing you all every goodness and blessings

 I am pleased to congratulate you and wish you a blessed Fast of Jonah, which begins this year on Monday, February 26th, and then the Great Lent, which begins on Monday, March 11th.

Fasting is a special spiritual period and one of the most beautiful virtues; the fasting period is a time of doing mercy and helping those in need.

As we remember all the needy and those who suffer, we would like to remember in particular the suffering of our brothers in Sudan as a result of the ongoing war which has become a forgotten war as other wars and tragedies in other parts of the world have received the most media attention. Therefore, we must not forget the suffering of our brothers and sisters in our Church in Sudan, who are not participants in the conflict but victims like the rest of the Sudanese people of this senseless civil war. Many lost their lives, others lost their property, and the majority of the able have left Sudan. Church services have been terminated in many places. Those who remain in Sudan suffer from the risk of death, disease, hunger and destitution.

As we meditate together on the work of mercy, we must remember every person in need, and remember in particular our loved ones; the sons of our Church in Sudan.

The spiritual foundation of the merciful act

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ tells us about the work of mercy and giving alms in the following words: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. That your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” Mat 6:1-4

We should note the following:

1- Not every merciful act and charitable deed is acceptable before God; whoever gives to charity to gain honor in front of people will receive his reward from people.

Jesus mentioned these people whom He called hypocrites, because they do good in order to be glorified by men (Matthew 6:2). We should purify our motivations when we do merciful deeds. In our modern age, the alternative to the trumpet is the media, whether it be newspapers, television, or social media. When an event occurs that the media is interested in, many organizations and individuals rush to help; some of them aiming to help, some aiming for attention and praise, and some aiming for both. You can visit a patient quietly or visit a patient accompanied by the media.  You can visit a patient without photography or visit a patient and post a picture of your visit on your Facebook page, Instagram or other social media. You can help a poor child without advertising, or help a poor child with posting his picture or showing it to your friends, and deceiving yourself that you are inspiring others to imitate you; but you have to examine your heart from the inside. The most serious threat of doing a good deed today is allowing the exploitation of doing a good deed for personal glory.

 Many people are looking for social status for themselves by helping the poor and the needy. Therefore, we find that when an event occurs that the media is interested in, many rush to contribute, but enthusiasm dims when media interest diminishes.

 2. Christ spoke of the reward for doing good deeds and He differentiated between two types of reward: the reward from the Heavenly Father which is reserved for those who do good deeds in secret and do not seek to receive the praise of people, and the reward from people which is obtained by those who do good deeds in order to be glorified by the people. Many use the needy, especially children, as a means to receive praise and material gain.

Many people successfully use the media to advertise their charitable work; many have become distinguished social role models in charitable work. All of these people received their reward from fame, social status and organizations that collect millions; but “you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Mat 6:1 If you want glory from people, you will receive it, but it is temporary and cheap; but if you want eternal glory, you will need to fight with yourself, review your life and do the good deed in secret, which is the more difficult way, but the best way.

Let us make sure to do good deeds for eternal glory and not mortal glory.

May the Lord bless your gifts to support Santa Verena Charity programs and grant you eternal glory, and may the blessing of the Great Lent be with us all.

Metropolitan Serapion