24th Sunday after Pentecost

 

On November 19, on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, St. George Parish family gathered for a nice liturgical celebration. Our service was headed by the Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. After the Gospel lesson of the Divine Liturgy he preached the following homily in English:

“The Gospel lesson assigned for today is describing two miracles of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: healing of the woman with an issue of blood and resurrection of a girl who just died. Interestingly, both these miracles were performed on women, the one of which was adult and having specific female health problems, and another was a young girl, a 12 year-old, who have just reached the age of maturity according to the Jewish law. Therefore, the Lord Jesus shows His abundant love and immeasurable mercy to the women, just as He shows them to all human kind.”
“Any Gospel lesson can be compared to a treasure chest containing a lot of precious stones and jewels. Any Gospel story can be studied and interpreted in many different aspects. As we said, today’s Gospel, apart from revealing the great power of our Lord to heal the sick and to raise the dead, shows us the Savior’s mercy to the women. And if we reflect further, we may learn something more.”
“First of all, we can learn from Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was sick and died. Our Lord preached in that synagogue in Capernaum but many of the people present there did not accept His teaching. They looked for any reason to condemn Jesus, to find a fault in Him. But one of them, Jairus, came to Jesus, fell at His feet and begged Him to come to his house to heal his daughter (Lk. 8, 41). He later was so patient that he waited when Jesus healed the woman in the crowd and spoke with her. Imagine, his daughter was dying, but Jairus never pushed Jesus to hurry up. He patiently waited believing in the power of Christ. And the Lord knowing his heart, granted Him mercy according to his faith. And the faith of Jairus was not in vain: his great sorrow had changed to a great joy. Therefore, we can learn from Jairus to be patient, to be trusting God and believing in God’s power and mercy.”
“Another aspect of today’s Gospel is about the healing of the woman with an issue of blood. She became healed by touching the hem of the Lord’s garment. Thus she believed so much that she did not even ask Jesus, but only touched his cloth. Apart from teaching us about the importance of faith, this example serves us as a foundation of our belief in the holy objects, the icons and especially the holy relics of the Saints. Let us recall how the shadow of Holy Apostle Peter or the garments of Holy Apostle Paul could heal the sick. Let us recall how many miracles were done through the miraculous icons of the Most Holy Mother of God, through Her precious garments and even Her precious belt! Every icon and every piece of cloth belonging to a holy person contains the divine grace given to us if we venerate it with faith.”
“The third reflection we may have today is regarding those who were the witnesses of the miracle when the Lord raised the young girl from the dead. The Gospel says that when Jesus came to the house of Jairus, the girl died and the people wept and mourned for her. When the Lord told them not to weep, they did not listen but ridiculed Him (Lk. 8, 52-53). In the same way nowadays many people make fun of religion and of our faith in the Word of God. Therefore, the Lord put those people all outside. He permitted only His three closest Disciples and the girl’s parents to come in (Lk. 8, 51-54). Only those who believed were the witnesses of the miracle. Only they were worthy of seeing that great work of the Lord. Others who had no faith were unworthy to be present. Thus the holy and great things are not accessible for those who have little or no faith. This is why many people complain that God never shows them His miracles, never appears to them. This is because of their lack of faith. For God shows Himself only to those who really believe. “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine”, says the Lord (Mt. 7, 6).”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us study the Word of God. Let us find precious treasures of spirit in every Gospel lesson we hear in the church. Let us be grateful for the Lord’s mercy towards the human kind, to men and women. Let us imitate the faith of Jairus and of the woman with an issue of blood, so we can be granted according to our faith. Let us also be worthy of God’s revealing us His great works by firm faith, trust and humility.”

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian addressing the main thoughts of his English homily. He also wished the parishioners a happy Thanksgiving Day and expressed a desire that we would first remember to give thanks to God for all His blessings and then indulge ourselves by feasting at the holiday table.

23rd Sunday after Pentecost

 

On November 12, on the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.

Following the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He pointed out that man possessed by the evil spirits in the Gospel story assigned for this Sunday (Lk. 8, 26-39) is an image of our passionate and sinful soul. We are often possessed by many passions. Those passions are our demons whose name is “legion”. Different vices like anger, lie, laziness, drunkenness may overcome our will. Being dominated by those passions we do strange and terrible things and later may be surprised that we do them. But the power of Christ can liberate us from those passions, just as this power healed the demoniac in today’s Gospel lesson. Our sinful soul can be freed in repentance, in reception of the Sacraments and by living spiritual life. We need to stay with Christ, to be in His Church which is a hospital for our spiritual infirmities. We also should do as the healed demoniac did. He wanted to stay with Christ, but the Lord told him: “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you” (Lk. 8, 39). We read that he went his way and preached. Thus he became the disciple of Christ and a preacher of the Gospel. Since we declare that we are the followers of Christ, we need to preach our spiritual successes, to preach what great things God has done to us. We may do it directly, by telling others about our spiritual life or we may do so by being an example of righteous living.

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in English to stress the main points of his homily.

Following the liturgical service the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company at the coffee hour. Our Warden and Choir Director, Olga Roussanow was congratulated on the occasion of her past birthday. She was presented by a picture portrait of her own, artistically made by the Malyshew family. Maria Malyshew was also congratulated on her past birthday. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed and the toasts raised to these parishioners.

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

 

On November 5, on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, as well as feast of the Holy Apostle James, brother f the Lord, we had a beautiful celebration in our Parish. In the absence of our Rector the Divine Liturgy was served by Priest Mark Rashkov, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Following the Gospel lesson Fr. Mark preached a homily.

21st Sunday after Pentecost

 

On October 29, on the 21st Sunday after Pentecost, in the absence of the Parish Rector, our services at St. George Church were celebrated by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral. He was co-served by Deacon Alexey Golubov.
Following the Gospel lesson Fr. Alexander preached a homily.
After the service clergy and parishioners enjoyed a nice company and delicious food at the coffee hour.

20th Sunday after Pentecost

 

On October 22, on the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, as well as Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council, and feast of the Holy Apostle James, we had a nice celebration at our parish temple. In the absence of our Rector the Divine Liturgy was served by Priest Mark Rashkov, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Following the Scripture lessons he preached a homily on the appointed Gospel reading.

18th Sunday after Pentecost. Feast of St. Sergius of Radonezh

 

On October 8, on the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, as well as commemoration of the repose of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, our Parish family gathered for a liturgical celebration. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.

Following the Scripture readings the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He pointed out that the Gospel lesson assigned for this day is about our trust in God. Apostle Peter expressed his human opinion when Jesus told him to try to catch more fish after a night of futile fishing. But he also said, “Nevertheless, at Your word, I will let down the net” (Lk. 5, 5). This situation reminds us of our own life. Often we prefer to act according to our own will, our own understanding of things, not by God’s. The precepts of the Lord tell us not to lie, but we lie and cheat. They tell us to love and forgive, but we are holding grudges and look for revenge. Even the very Christian religion seems to be unpractical to some of the people because it teaches to love your enemy and to forgive while it is not the way most people act. If we do so, we exclude a possibility of a miracle to happen in our lives. Apostle Peter agreed to listen to Jesus despite his human certainty that no fish will be caught, and a miracle happened – the Apostles caught a lot of fish.
The word “nevertheless” is very important here. It is a crucial word in Christian life if it is followed by our trust in God. Let us recall what happened when our Lord was crucified: all the forces of evil were against Him. Judas betrayed Him, the high priests condemned Him, Pilate withdrew and washed off his hands, the crowd shouted, “Crucify Him!” Nevertheless, on the first day of the week what happened? Christ’s Resurrection. On the third day Jesus rose from the dead.
Therefore, we need to trust in God and to build our life according to the word of God. Then a miracle may happen in our life, just as it happened with Peter. And in all our pains and sorrows we should always remember that important word “nevertheless” because the power of Christ may overcome everything and turn evil into good.

The choir prayerfully performed the hymns in honor of Venerable Sergius during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in English stressing the main thoughts of his Russian homily.

Sunday after Exaltation. Celebration of the Rector’s Name Day

 

On October 1, on the Sunday after Exaltation, we had a beautiful service in our parish temple. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. He was co-served by Deacon John Peters, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral. Following the Gospel lesson the Rector delivered the following homily in English:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today is Sunday after the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and thus the Gospel lesson is about taking up a cross to follow Christ. It also contains an interesting statement: “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mk. 8, 36). If our Lord Himself uses such earthly words as “profit” and “gain”, let us make a conclusion using the similar vocabulary: Jesus says that gaining the whole world and losing one’s soul is the world’s worst bargain.”
“Let us imagine, for a moment, that man gains the whole world. It cannot keep him from trouble; it cannot give him peace; it cannot comfort him in sorrow; it cannot purchase him immortality and it cannot secure him a place in heaven when he is gone. All he can do with the world, is to keep it until he dies; he cannot carry any of it with him to the other life. This is why we may hear of the people who are well-known, who are the celebrities, but who commit suicide although they live a very wealthy life. Their treasures don’t even give them a happy life here. And, of course, they don’t give them eternal life.”
“Our greatest treasure is our soul. Therefore, to lose it would be to lose the most valuable thing we may possess. Even the Gentiles could understand that. When a thief stole his lamp, the Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “It is the thief who loses. I bought a lamp; it cost me a few pennies. But it cost thief his soul”. We lose our souls when we are no longer alive to God and to His love. We lose our souls when we place some other person or thing at the center of life. We lose our souls when we move away from God and no longer experience the power of His presence. And we lose our souls when we feel there is no longer any hope of forgiveness. It was to keep us from losing our soul that God sent His Son to be our Savior. Through Him no person need to loose his soul. Through Him, the door to salvation is always open. Through Jesus we can now become alive toward God and toward our fellow humans. Through Jesus we can gain treasures far greater in value than the entire universe.”
“The Gospel today tells us how to follow Jesus and how to prepare for heaven. The Lord says, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mk. 8, 34). If we wish to save our souls, the secret is to deny oneself. It doesn’t mean we need to deny our personality, ourselves as human beings. It means to deny what is sinful and corrupt. It means to say “no” to sin. It means to say “no” to anything that stops on our way to salvation. A famous violin player was asked, what was the secret of his marvelous success. He replied, “Planned neglect. I deliberately neglect other things in order to concentrate on the one task that is all-important”. What makes a great chess player? Planned neglect. What makes a great writer? Planned neglect. What makes a great Christian? Planned neglect of the less important things in life in order to concentrate on the all-important call of Jesus: “Follow Me.””
“If we really follow the Lord, He will bless us and secure our eternity. He says, “Whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mk. 8, 35). Losing one’s life for Jesus equals saving it for eternity; it equals gaining eternal life. Returning to an earthly business vocabulary we may say that investing our life in following Christ is to make a good deal. It is to get eternal security. A man once prayed, “Lord, tie me to something eternal. I tie to houses and lands, stocks and bonds, and by some turn of fate, I lose them. I tie myself to a loved one, and a single microbe comes and death snatches her away. I tie myself to a friend, and the friendship vanishes. Lord, tie me to Your program, to service to Your Kingdom, to You, God, that I might be tied to the eternal”.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Being tied to God, the soul finds eternal security. Therefore, let us listen to the words of the Holy Gospel and deny our sinful nature and its inclinations. Let us say “no” to sin and to all that could prevent us from being saved. Let us tie our life to our Savior Jesus Christ, our only Hope who can grant us eternal life and make us gain His everlasting Kingdom!”

The choir prayerfully performed the hymns dedicated to the Holy Cross during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in Russian conveying main ideas of his English homily.

Following the Rector’s sermon our Sacristan Andrew Malyshew congratulated Fr. Igor on the occasion of his coming name day and of his 10th anniversary of serving as Rector of St. George. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed. Fr. Igor expressed his gratitude to the parishioners for their greetings, as well as to Fr. John for coming to participate in this celebration. The Rector also praised the choir for a beautiful singing.

Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and an interesting conversation.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

 

On September 27th, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross, we had a solemn celebration in our temple. Before the Hours Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov placed the cross in the middle of the church and venerated it.
At the Divine Liturgy, after the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is a Lord’s holy day but it is not dedicated to some event in the life of Christ, but to the Precious and Life-giving Cross. But the Cross of Christ cannot be separated from the crucifixion. Therefore, in today’s Gospel lesson we hear the sorrowful story of the holy Passions of the Lord, the story of His crucifixion. And today’s Epistle lesson proclaims that “we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness” (1 Cor. 1, 23).”
“To the ancient Graeco-Roman world, the Christian claim of the cross was complete foolishness. If you are familiar with Greek mythology, you remember that Greek gods could also take on human appearance. For instance, Zeus did it to chase after women, causing more harm than help. We, Christians, believe that God assumed a human body and soul, not to find pleasure but to enter into our pain. This is the mystery and the glory of the Holy Cross.”
“The sign of the cross is often reduced to a good-luck charm. We wear it around our necks or we may make a sign of the cross when we begin something important. But let us remember that the Cross of Jesus Christ does not promise us success, health, or pleasure. The Cross only promises us that Jesus will be with us, no matter how badly we suffer, no matter how badly we fail, and no matter how horribly we feel. Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28, 20).  It is through His Cross that Jesus is with us. That is the meaning of the Cross and that is the meaning of our Christian faith.”
“God enters into the depth, the pit of human experience through Jesus’ crucifixion and death. We are not alone. We wish that the Holy Cross meant that we don’t have to suffer, but it means that God chose to suffer with us. God’s ways are not our ways. The lesson of the Holy Cross is still very hard for us. That is why the Holy Cross became the sign of the Christian faith. Every Orthodox church is adorned by the cross, and the cross is everywhere among the Christian people. It is an emblem of our faith, the most known symbol of Christianity.”
“The Holy Cross is also a sign of hope. When we look on the Holy Cross, we can believe that there is hope beyond our suffering, our failures, and our loss. We can believe that there is hope for the suffering and heavy-burdened. There is hope because God will not abandon us in our sufferings.”
“And finally, the Holy Cross is a sign of love. God sent His Onlybegotten Son because He loved the world. Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross because He so loved the world. And the Cross is stretching its sides as the Lord Jesus stretched His arms on the Cross to embrace us in His infinite love.”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, we must always exalt and lift up the Cross of Jesus Christ. We must exalt and honor that sign of our faith, the sign of our hope and the sign of God’s love. If the Greek gods played their games with humans, the God of Jesus Christ suffered with human kind. And He suffers with us. Exalting the Precious and Life-giving Cross we should realize that God is indeed with us.”

Our Cantor, Olga Roussanow beautifully performed hymns dedicated to the Holy Cross during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector and altar server performed the rite of Glorification before the Cross and the icon of the feast singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Exaltation. After that the Rector and parishioners venerated the Cross.

Sunday before Exaltation. Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God

 

On September 24, on the Sunday before Exaltation of the Cross, our Parish also observed feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. Divine Liturgy in our temple was served by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. Following the lessons from the Holy Gospel he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today the Church celebrates Sunday before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And we also celebrate feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God which we decided to transfer it to this Sunday. But even if we did not transfer it for today, we would still commemorate that feast because the Church continues to celebrate it for several days. But the Church already prepares us for another great holy day, feast of the Exaltation. Thus today we would have to reflect upon those two important matters: on the birth of the holy Theotokos and on the words of Christ heard in today’s Gospel telling us that “God so loved the world that He gave His onlybegotten Son…” (Jn. 3, 16).”
“The Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God is the first holy day of the New Church year. “The present Feast is for us the beginning of feasts” – says about it Ven. Andrew of Crete. It is understood because the birth of the One who had to give birth to the Savior of the world should be considered as a beginning of our salvation. “Thy Nativity, o Virgin Theotokos, has proclaimed joy to all the universe” – we sing today in the troparion dedicated to this feast. The troparion goes on and explains that the universe should rejoice in the birth of the Mother of God because from Her the Sun of righteousness, Christ our God, is risen. He broke the ancestral curse and gave the blessing; He destroyed death and granted us life eternal.”
“If we recall the story of the Nativity of the Mother of God, we could observe that Her parents, Joachim and Anna, were advanced in age but were childless. In those times and in the Jewish society it was considered a great misfortune and reproach. It could be viewed as a curse. But the whole human race was under a similar curse, lived in a great misfortune of sin. Although children were born to the people, they had no future of holiness and pleasing God.”
“Sometimes people say that eternal life means our continuation in children. It is true to some extent. Our sons and daughters look like us, behave like us, have our traits. Joachim and Anna thought that they did not have such a continuation. They were first deprived of the hope to have a future in their children. But even people blessed by the offspring could not have the true eternal life. Every generation before the coming of Christ lived under condemnation, lived in the fallen state. Children looked like their parents, behaved like their parents and repeated their parents’ sins and mistakes. Only with the coming of the Divine Savior into the world, only with the incarnation of the Son of God, the human race was given a future to become holy and to join God in the eternal life. Such life was granted, the ancestral curse was broken through Jesus Christ redeeming us. But in order to accomplish that Jesus had to be born as a Man. And His birth was given by the Most Holy Theotokos. She had to come to this world first. And She did, and today we celebrate Her wonderful Nativity.”
“Holy grandparents of God, Joachim and Anna, became blessed. They conceived a child, gave birth to the holy Virgin Mary. In the same way God, in His endless love, blessed the whole humanity and gave His only begotten Son. Humanity was perished, but God wanted it to live. Preparing to celebrate another holy day, feast dedicated to the Precious Cross, and observing Sunday preceding that solemnity, let us understand how God acted for us. His love freed us from the curse of our ancestors. God gave His only Son for us to grant us life, life everlasting. Instead of childlessness of Joachim and Anna He gave them a child who bore Christ into the world. They were blessed with life, with the continuation of their family. And all of us became blessed with life.  Instead of absence of hope God gave the future. Instead of death He granted life.”

Our Cantor, Olga Roussanow performed beautiful hymns of the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector and altar servers came out of the sanctuary and performed the rite of glorification in front of the festal icon, singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast.

The Rector also preached a short sermon in English addressing the main thoughts of his Russian homily.

Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.

14th Sunday after Pentecost. Beheading of St. John the Baptist

 

On September 10, on the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, St. George Parish held a nice celebration. In addition to the Sunday observance we celebrated feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist that had been transferred to Sunday. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the readings from the Scripture he preached the following homily in English:

“Today along with our Sunday celebration we observe feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Both Sunday Gospel lesson and the reading of the story of the Beheading of the Forerunner may give us a sad and negative impression. In our Sunday Gospel assigned for today we hear a parable of the Wedding Feast. It shows that so many people neglected the invitation of their king, and even among those who came to the banquet there were people not dressed appropriately. Our Lord finishes that parable by saying, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Mt. 22, 14). And in the Gospel story of the execution of St. John the Baptist we hear that this just man was killed by the unjust people and there was no one to defend him.”
“Listening to such sad stories we may recall the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart” (Is. 57, 1). St. John was beheaded to honor the request of a loose dancing girl and because of the hatred of her adulterous mother, and no one took it to heart. The birthday banquet of king Herod was not stopped, no guest became indignant and no man became frustrated that such a righteous man was murdered. And in some time after that crime, another villainy had been done, another just Man was killed – our Lord Jesus Christ. Not to honor the request of some dancing girl, but to please the angry crowd an innocent Person of Christ was crucified. And no man took it to heart. We say “no man” because a small number of the Apostles and the Most Holy Mother of God were like a drop in the ocean of the enemies of Christ.”
“These two examples of the execution of St. John the Baptist and of Christ suggest that evil is very successful and reigning in this world while good is very often defeated and humiliated. It may also be observed through the whole history of mankind. It is seen right now in many places of the world. And today’s Gospel lesson about the Wedding Feast may lead us to a conclusion that our human nature is so corrupt and ungrateful that God won’t allow most of us to enter into His Kingdom. Thus today we may tend to think negative and become filled with pessimism.”
“But let us try to think positive. The whole idea of the Kingdom of God where all of us are invited should overcome all kinds of pessimism. Our Lord is describing His eternal Kingdom in an image so understood to the people – as a wedding feast. In the times of Christ and in East weddings were celebrations of human love, and the families that made them attempted to invite as many guests as they could. So the Lord compared His Kingdom to such a feast. Everyone is welcome. It is now our own choice whether to accept that generous invitation. If we accept and do our best to get there, to enter into God’s Kingdom, to participate in His everlasting celebration of Love – we will be there. And our garment will be appropriate if we will prepare and put such garment on. So, the Lord won’t throw us out of His banquet hall into the outer darkness. It is totally up to us.” “Even if we fail to do our preparation, even if it seems difficult for us to accept God’s invitation, the Lord is always willing to help us. He provides His divine grace, He assures us that if with men it is impossible, with God everything is possible (Mt. 19, 26). And despite that only few are chosen, the Lord keeps saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11, 28). And the whole Scripture is full of very optimistic and positive assurances of God’s love and willingness to save everyone. But on the other hand, of course, God won’t save us without our desire to be just. The book of Revelation says, He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteousstill; he who is holy, let him be holy still (Rev. 22, 11). God gives us a choice. If we are unjust or filthy, He will judge us; if we are righteous and holy He will bless us.”
“Sometimes God allows unjust to be punished even before His judgment, even in this life. The punishment of Herod, Herodias and her foolish daughter was terrible. They suffered a very tragic death. But as regards St John who called and still calls to repentance – his name lives on forever.”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, despite the sadness of today’s Gospel lessons, let us remember that God’s justice will always prevail. Let us also remember that we are all invited to share in the joy of our Lord in His eternal Kingdom. An invitation is sent and the doors of the banquet hall are wide open. The Wedding Feast is waiting for us. It is now up to us whether we will accept that invitation, do our best to come and be dressed appropriately. If not, we will join king Herod, Herodias and her foolish daughter the dancer. We will join those who condemned Christ. But if we will do our best we will join the holy ones, we will be among the Saints such as John the Baptist, the Most Holy Mother of God and our Lord Jesus Christ!”

Since in the beginning of September the Russian Church holds a special day of prayer for the preservation of God’s creation, during the Litany of fervent supplication the Rector offered special petitions for that cause.

The choir prayerfully performed hymns dedicated to the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, as well as in honor of the Saints commemorated on this day (Ven. Moses the Black and Ven. Job of Pochaev).

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian explaining the main ideas of his English homily.
The Rector also congratulated our parishioner Moses Dunetz on the occasion of his nameday, the memory of Ven. Moses the Black. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!) had been sung.
After that the Rector offered a prayer for the schoolchildren who begin their new school year and performed a blessing of the young child Elena Malyshev who is starting her school year by entering the preK group.

After the liturgical service the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company at the trapeza table.