On Forgiveness Vespers 2021

So here we are again, by God’s infinite grace, ready to embark on another Great Fast. Despite all that the world has thrown against us, the Faith still stands. The devil has won many battles this past year, of this, there can be no doubt. But the gates of hell will not –cannot–prevail. We know how this story ends and Who the ultimate Victor is.

The photo is of Bishop Atnsije Jevtic, a retired bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church who reposed in the Lord on March 4th. I don’t know why exactly this struck me as appropriate for the onset of Lent but for some reason, I felt that it embodied the childlike grace that is –or rather should be–Lent. Other than subjecting oneself to scourging and crucifixion, what is more humiliating than bowing down before your brother or sister and asking for forgiveness?

How much more would earth be the paradise which we lost if we acted in such a manner? I didn’t know the late bishop but I can tell from this photo that he was an Adamic figure –Adamic as in before the Fall. A man whom the animals did not fear but regarded him as their caretaker?

This photo was sent to me by Fr A James Bernstein, author of Surprised by Christ. Bishop Atanasije wrote the prologue for this book’s Serbian edition. His Grace was also a “driving force” in having it published in the Serbian language. (For more information, please go to https://orthochristian.com/137782.html)

In any event, we stand before you tonight, with hands crossed, then bowing before each and every one of you saying these words: “Brother, forgive me. God forgives and so do we.”


  1. Michael Bauman says

    God forgives and so do I…..

  2. Michael Bauman says

    Our priest, Fr. Calinic in his homily yesterday said the key to Lent is simple, but not easy: forgive and keep the Fast.
    The rest of his homily waa on all of the ways keeping the Fast helps us conquer the passions.

    Too bad we can no longer have a national fast. Shoot, can we even accomplish it in the Church?

    • Joshua V says

      It seems we both attend St. George, my friend. How have we not met? Granted, I usually have my head bowed, chasing after my three young children.

  3. Michael Bauman says

    Why use the word ‘humiliating’?
    Humbling, freeing, even joyful at times but ‘humiliating’ I do not understand.

  4. Solidarity Priest says

    Forgive me, George and Gail. I also ask forgiveness of everyone else whom I have offended.

  5. Pat Reardon says

    This past Sunday morning a lady asked for my forgiveness.

    “Not just yet,” I replied, “let’s wait till Vespers and do it right. That will give me several more hours to enjoy the grudge.”

  6. Jane Tzilvelis says
  7. And yet no asking forgiveness while embracing our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ:


    • It is not my intent to criticize Met. Joseph in saying this, but the thought occurred to me….

      If all our bishops were as intent on the enforcement of those disciplines that concern our spiritual well-being as they are with those that they deem important for our physical health the healing that would occur among us would be nothing short of miraculous.

      I ask their, and all of your, forgiveness…for everything.

  8. Michael Bauman says

    Since I have the time, I made some calls today to fellow parishioners whom I have not seen or talked to in awhile. One in his 90s who could not really hear me. Another who has been fighting throat cancer and the after effects of the treatment, two others about my age. It was wonderful. The connection to each of them is still strong. Had the opportunity to ask forgiveness from each of them, except the one who cannot hear. None of us had made Forgiveness Vespers. The blessing was there in each case. Two are cradle, the other two converts. I just realized that.

    Everyone is struggling. Each of us in our own particular way. That became quite clear in my conversations. Only “they” don’t struggle.

  9. George Michalopulos says

    Happy St Paddy’s Day!

    Enjoy Dervish’s “Cooley’s Reel” and “The Wise Maid”!


  10. Here is the great Luke Kelly with a cheerful tale
    of a sad misfortune which came over him on the way to Van Diemen’s Land:

  11. Forgive me, a sinner!

    I have been heartened by these recent services from two monasteries. I hope they may be edifying for you.