St. John the Baptist Parish, A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church, Canberra, Australia

Pastoral Letter from Father Alexander – 28 March 2020

Dear parishioners and worshipers of St John the Baptist Cathedral

At the beginning of one of his books on the Orthodox Church, Bishop Kallistos Ware tells how one of the Desert Fathers of fourth-century Egypt, St Sarapion the Sindonite travelled once to Rome. There he learned of a celebrated recluse – a woman who lived always in one small room, never going out. Sarapion called on her and asked: ‘Why are you sitting here?’ To this she replied: ‘I am not sitting, I am on a journey’.

Evet Christian can apply these words to themselves, particularly at this moment when because of the coronavirus we too are spending much time sitting in our room. What is important of course is that while the way we are journeying through life has very rapidly and drastically changed in the last few weeks, our journey itself need not come to a halt. We are travelling through the inward space of the heart towards the eternal kingdom of God – and that path can be followed whatever the outward circumstances of our daily life. Let us always remember that we are not alone on this journey – we travel together and our Christian duty is to support each other.

I have asked Father Stephen in his letter to outline how in practical terms in these completely new, difficult and unexpected conditions we can journey together and support each other. May God grant to all of us the patience and spiritual endurance to overcome this storm that has descended on our sea of life.

Father Alexander
Dean of Cathedral