On Sunday, January 6, 2019, on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, His Grace Bishop Macarie Drăgoi of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe was among the Romanians in Gothenburg, Sweden, together with a group of priests and deacons.
In the word of teaching Bishop Macarie referred to the meaning of the feast of the Lord’s Baptism and of the tossing of the cross in waters:
“We have this custom of going out with the Holy Cross to cast it into waters on Epiphany. Why do we do this? Because “You have broken the heads of the dragons in the water” (Psalm 73:14). As it is sometimes represented in the icon of the Baptism of the Lord, by submerging in the waters of the Jordan, Christ crushed all the power of the wicked upon the human soul. We call upon the Lord for help when we throw the Holy Cross in the waters to crush the heads of the unseen dragons that are struggling with this world and tying it. We can look at the human soul as a sea, like a deep. An agitated and troubled sea, moved by all kinds of forces, by sea currents, populated by all sorts of life of the deep. It is a good metaphor to represent our human personality, which, as some say, resembles in depth to an abyss with a visible, conscious surface, and the unseen, or rather hidden, subconscious. On the surface, we seem to be fine, but deep down there are so many hidden forces, so many passions and suggestions from the world and from the evil one. According to the Psalmist: “Mistakes, who will understand them? Of my hidden ones cleanse me. And of the strangers keep thy servant; if they will not rule me, then I shall be blameless and clear from great sin.”(Psalm 18: 13-14).
This deepness that is the human soul that longs for the Lord, for “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;” (Psalm 41: 9). Only the Lord can fill this deep with His power. Only He can reach the depths of our soul, enlightening, cleansing, liberating, empowering. This deep cannot be satisfied with the surrogates offered by the world; it cannot rest no matter how much it will gain in the seen world. He always remains unshaken in His desire after the Creator. This is the tragedy of the man of our day, who fills the sea, the depth of his soul, with the garbage of the facile surrogates of this world, polluting his soul, frantically seeking to forget God and the meaning of our journey in this life. On this day, the Lord, through Baptism, “With His power He divorced His sea and His wisdom, He broke His anger” (Job 26:12). All the anxiety, all the turmoil of the human soul, but also all the polluting cargo and all the beasts that have been drawn into the depths of the soul, are, through Baptism, crushed, pulled out, shattered. The deep in us is broken by this divine power, by this light, so that grace may touch the heart itself and free us from sin, from the passions and from the slavery of the wicked. The baptism of the Lord is this work of divine power, which becomes, through personal baptism, an inner reality for every member of the Church”
At the end of the Mass, the Great Sanctification of the Water was carried out, then heading into the procession on the shores of the North Sea, where His Grace Father Macarie threw the cross into the water, being taken by one of the swimmers who cast themselves into the cold waters of Scandinavia. The present believers were blessed with the Great Holy Water, and the children received gifts from the Father Bishop.