These days, His Grace Father Bishop Macarie Drăgoi of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Northern Europe is in a pastoral visit to the Romanians on the west coast of Norway where, in addition to the Eucharistic ministry, he visited the homes of those in trials and hardships, bringing them comfort.
On Saturday, January 25, 2020, His Grace Macarie celebrated the Holy Liturgy in the church of the Romanian parish in Stavanger and baptized two children from the community. After the service, the hierarch with the clergy and the parishioners wanted to convey a good thought and a message of encouragement, singing the traditional Happy Birthday, to the little girl Maria-Alexandra from Finland, on the 13th birthday, the joy of Saturday’s anniversary being shadowed because she is still separated from her mother, the doctor Camelia-Mihaela Smicală.
On Sunday, January 26, 2020, Father Bishop Macarie celebrated the Holy Liturgy of the Feast in the Romanian Church “Holy Hermits Macarius the Great and Macarius of Alexandria” in the Norwegian Fjord of Haugesund.
In his teaching word, the hierarch put to the heart of the believers a story from the life of Saint Hermit Macarius the Great, narrated in the Lausian History of Paladie: “The Great Old Macarius the Egyptian once faced with a less ordinary situation, which seems to come out the stories of our childhood. A man came to the saint’s cell with his wife, who was apparently transformed into a horse. She no longer had a human appearance, but seemed to her husband, those around her, and even the other monks in the monastery, an animal, a horse. It had happened after a spell made by another man who, in a passionate bodily way towards this woman, resorted to an Egyptian sorcerer asking him to do something to separate her from her husband. And that one worked so that the woman appeared to her man in the form of a horse. For three days he could not give her anything to eat, neither for men nor for animals. In this state of despair our man reaches the Hermit Macarius, asking for his help. But the old man’s reaction is unexpected. He says to everyone, “You are horses, for you have horses’ eyes. For that is a woman, who has not been changed except for the eyes of the deceived.” So, the woman had not been transformed into a horse! But what a terrible thing for that woman to pass on to everyone else as a horse, as a beast! Taking water and blessing it, the Holy Hermit Macarius the Great poured it on the woman, who reappeared as before to those around her. Why did this happen? Saint Macarius warns and tells the man and his wife: this has happened because you have been away from the Church for five weeks. For five weeks they had not been to the Liturgy, becoming vulnerable to the enemy of salvation, to spells, to illusions. How much do we live in reality and how much do we live in our own delusions? This is a question we must ask ourselves more and more insistently, sincerely, before God. And this process of staying in reality and of not letting us fall into deception, is perfected in the Mystery of Repentance in the Church, through the concrete, existential participation in the Holy Liturgy. We need constant infusions of grace, we need to constantly wash our eyes with the blessed water of the Holy Spirit that flows incessantly into the Church, so that we have a clean sight, showing us things as they are, not as we imagine, or, worse, as the enemy of salvation wants, the devil, to show them to us.”
After the service the hierarch baptized a little girl from the community. The children, after sharing with the Holy Sacraments, received several gifts from the hierarch and the believers received icons.
All those present worshiped the Icon of the Mother of God “The one cherished by everyone”, kept in the Romanian church in Haugesund, a place that was been purchased from the Norwegian community and was consecrated last autumn.