Churchgoers gather to hear message of hope
Members of the Perth Greek community marked Easter on Friday evening with a service at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helena. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Perth's Catholic Archbishop Timothy Costelloe delivered a powerful message of hope at Easter Mass at St Mary's Cathedral yesterday.

He confronted the issues facing society and the Church.

Churchgoers lined the pews and spilt outside as Archbishop Costelloe urged West Australians not to be beaten down by anger and resentment.

In his homily focused on the importance of hope, the archbishop covered issues from betrayal by those within the Church to the increasing culture of violence in society.

"In the resurrection of Jesus, God has given us the absolute assurance that life is more powerful than death and that love is more powerful than hate," he said. "We need to hear this message and celebrate this extraordinary truth."

After the service, he said he hoped people would be encouraged by the fact the Church was addressing the issues of the day.

"God wants us to live in the real world, not some imaginary world or some artificial world and the real world is a world with a lot of pain and a lot of suffering," Archbishop Costelloe said. "People carry heavy burdens and the Church, for all its faults, is ultimately here to offer a message of hope."

Earlier, outside St George's Cathedral, Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft reflected on the Easter story and the power of the belief in resurrection.

He described Easter as a time of great joy.

Hundreds of people poured into the cathedral, scrambling to find seats ahead of the 10am service.

"The story is bigger than the Church and the story is bigger than any one of us," Archbishop Herft said. "We are only tenants that keep the story going.

"There's an attraction and a compelling nature in the story that you can't run away from."

Yesterday marked the final Easter service for the Anglican Dean of Perth John Shepherd, who will retire in July after 24 years as the head of the cathedral.

Archbishop Herft said Dr Shepherd had made a "massive contribution" to the Church and would be dearly missed.

This year, Orthodox Easter also fell on the same day as the Western Christian festival.

Thousands of Orthodox Christians celebrated with services, late-night processions and traditional Easter foods at the weekend.

The parish priest at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saints Constantine and Helene in Northbridge, Elpidios Karalis, said Orthodox Easter involved 40 days of preparation. "It is not a one-day celebration. We will continue to celebrate Easter for another 40 days," he said.

"We are obviously celebrating Christ's resurrection, but also the universal resurrection.

"At the end of time everyone will be resurrected from the dead. That is the fundamental belief of all Christian faith."

The West Australian

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