His Grace Bishop Makarios would always say, “The Divine Liturgy, for me, is my only consolation and extreme happiness. No one knows how happy I feel while I am standing in the altar. If this magnitude of happiness is felt here while we are still on earth, how much more will our happiness be with our LORD Jesus Christ in Heaven?”
His Grace Bishop Makarios used to pray the Divine Liturgy with great spiritual power, to the degree that the words of the prayers came out of his mouth as fire, touching the hearts of the congregation; it was clear that he prayed from the bottom of his heart and with all his might. It was said about him, “Every time Bishop Makarios prays the Mass, you feel as if he is enjoying a delicious meal with great admiration. He prays fervently and thoughtfully, contemplating on each word, even on the prayers that are cited secretly (eg, during the Pauline reading).” HG used to pray the Fraction prayers with great passion, tears, a high level of spirituality, and with a heavenly voice. He always used to say, “whoever respects the altar and gives it its’ due holiness will see amazing spiritual scenes, and God will uncover for him the hidden mysteries.”
There was nothing on earth that could prevent HG from prayer. He did not listen to the doctors or priests who tried to talk him out of praying; he used to say, “when I stand before the altar, I feel that I never want to leave it; I hope that God never prevents me from praying, even if I have to die on the altar while doing so.” His love of the liturgies was manifest at those times when he was seen unable to stand while entering the church, his weak body shaking and trembling, leaning on his cane, and breathing with great difficulty; yet this never prevented him from attending on time.
And to the congregation’s great astonishment, it would only be a matter of seconds after he started the liturgy that his shaking body would become steady, his broken words would become strong and clear, and his breathing would be regulated, as if he was a different man. Members of the congregation would ask him after the Liturgy, “What has happened Your Grace?” and he would explain that Pope Kyrillos, Saint George, Abu Saifain, or a group of the anchorites were praying in the Liturgy with him.
He used to say, “there is nothing we can do greater than praying Divine Liturgies;” and so he offered all his needs, the churches needs, and the congregation’s needs on the altar, before the true sacrifice of the Eucharist. The usual request HG had during the Liturgy was, “LORD, please take charge of my life and bestow your peace upon the diocese.” In almost all the Divine Liturgies that HG prayed in the last six years of his life, Pope Kyrillos VI came and attended with him.
Furthermore, he constantly wished that he would die during the Liturgy, and God granted him his wish. HG Bishop Makarios died while he was praying the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, February 3, 1991. He predicted the timing of his death, mentioning it to a few people with subtle words and even asked his last liturgy to be video recorded, which was an unusual request on his part.
A video of his last liturgy is shown below…