Sunday of All Saints

 

On June 23, on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, the Church celebrates memory of All the Saints who pleased the Lord by their pious lives. On that day we had a nice service at St. George Church. Our parish Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily in English:

“Dear brothers and sisters! Today, on the 1st Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate All Saints Day. And this celebration gives us the answer to an important question: why the whole history of salvation of the human race took place? Why did God create man? Why did God incarnate and become Man? Why did God accept suffering and was crucified on the cross? Why did He die and rise from the dead? Why did He ascend into heaven, and why did He send the Holy Spirit from His Father to His Apostles?”
“This whole history of salvation is remembered in our Church holy days, in our calendar. We celebrate the Nativity of Christ, His Baptism in the Jordan, then we commemorate His Entry into Jerusalem, His sufferings, and then on Pascha we celebrate His Resurrection. After Pascha, 40 days after we celebrate the Ascension into heaven. Then, after 9 more days, we mark the Descent of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost. And today, on Sunday after Pentecost, we sum up: what are the results of the whole history of salvation? And they are the following: that people who follow Christ can acquire salvation; they can become the Saints, they can become Holy.”
“Thus, today’s feast gives us an answer why all this occurred. And all this happened, so the holiness may shine in the hearts of men. The purpose of our Lord to come into the world is that we could become Holy.”
“This is marvelous because we constantly say that we are sinful people. Yet the Lord came into the world, so we may become not sinners but Saints. However, we may say to ourselves that we are not Saints. We are not holy for we acknowledge our weaknesses, recognize our unworthiness, understand our sins and realize our shortcomings.  God calls us to holiness but we are sinners. It is easy to fall into despair. But God established His Holy Church, a gathering of the Saints, and the Church does not allow us to be fall into despair, because everyone of us, with no exceptions, every baptized person has a gleam of divine grace. And as much as we are united with God, so much holiness is manifested in our life. Despite our unworthiness, despite our shortcomings, despite our sins, holiness is possible for us. The Lord gives us His grace to change our unworthiness, because He took our sins upon Himself, He came to correct our shortcomings.”
“Celebrating memory of All Saints we see how very different people, children and elderly, men and women, educated and illiterate, rich and poor – are being glorified as Saints by the Church. People of various nations, of different intellect, of different cultural level are honored as Saints because holiness does not depend on those things. Salvation and holiness depend only on how much we open our soul to the grace and operation of the Holy Spirit.”
“And today, rejoicing about those fruits that the Church gave to our life, rejoicing about millions of Saints who fulfilled their calling from the Lord Jesus Christ, let us ask the grace of God for ourselves, let us ask the Lord to bless our life journey that we may become Saints despite our falls and our sins. And we may be holy because for that reason our Lord Jesus came into the world, so no one who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life.”
“Let us then turn to the multitudes of the Saints glorified today by the Church and let us ask them to elevate their prayers for us, sinners, that we may follow the holy Commandments of God and live along with our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom shall be glory into the ages of ages. Amen.”

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian explaining the content of his English homily. He also reminded the faithful of the beginning of St. Peter’s Fast dedicated to the works of the Holy Apostles.

 

Pentecost. Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

 

On June 16 of this year all Orthodox Christians celebrated Pentecost, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Our St. George parish family had a beautiful celebration in our temple. The church was nicely adorned with greenery. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy.

Following the reading from the Holy Gospel the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He addressed our Christian faith in the Most Holy Trinity, in One God in Three Persons. Such faith is important because it opens for us a way to salvation. Those who know that God is one may have a fear of God but such a fear is not that saving fear that is described in the Scripture. Such a fear is not caused by one’s love of God. That fear leads to despair. That kind of faith only in one God is seen among the Muslims. And they do not recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God and God. They fear one God but are not able to approach Him, to be with Him. We Christians tremble before one God, but we also rejoice that we are united with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ who became Man for our salvation.
There are many other people who believe that God may be incarnate but they invent many other gods and see them in the whole world. They worship the forces of nature. These are different followers of the pagan cults, the ancient ones like Hindus and the new ones like various followers of the occult teachings, astrology and sorcery. They worship the spirits thinking that they serve the true gods. In fact, they worship the demons and do not know the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit. But we, Orthodox Christians, are blessed to know the Holy Spirit because by the Holy Spirit the world is alive and the Church of Christ exists.
That is why it is so important to know the true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit because our salvation depends on that. Thus it is a great blessing and happiness to be an Orthodox Christian and to know the true God one in the Holy Trinity.

The choir piously performed the hymns of the feast during the preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar server performed the rite of Glorification singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast before the festal icon in the middle of the church. Then the Rector preached a short sermon in English stressing the main thoughts of his Russian homily. He also congratulated our men on the occasion of the Father’s Day. A traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was performed.

After the Liturgy the Rector served Pentecostal Vespers with kneeling prayers.

Following the services the Rector and parishioners continued their celebration of the feast at the trapeza table enjoying delicious food and a nice conversation.

 

Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the I Ecumenical Council

 

On June 9, on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows::

“Dear brothers and sisters! On this Sunday following the Ascension of the Lord we celebrate the memory of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. We should remember that this was the first gathering of the Christian Bishops from the whole world. It took place in the 4th century. That Council adopted most of our Creed that we recite in our daily prayers and sing it during every Liturgy. Today we may wonder why those Ecumenical Councils gathered and what kind of gatherings they were.”
“We believe that the Head of the Holy Orthodox Church is Jesus Christ Himself. There is no other head. Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior who came into the world, became Man, lived a human life, died on the cross, risen from the dead and ascended into heaven – He is the Head of His Body, the Church. Roman Catholics believe that the head of the Church is the Pope of Rome but we, Orthodox always remember that only Jesus Christ can be the Head of His Church. But since Christ sent His Apostles to preach to different nations, they went to various countries where they made the disciples different people. Thus today we know Orthodox Christians from many nations and from different ethnic background. Holy Apostles being enlightened by the Holy Spirit began to speak different languages and they also brought the grace to the nations they preached. And in each country which became Christian local communities of the believers, local Churches were established. Some of them became known as local independent, autocephalous Orthodox Churches.”
“There are 15 such local Orthodox Churches in the world: the Church of Constantinople, of Alexandria, of Antioch, of Jerusalem, our Russian Church, then Georgian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian Churches, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of Czech and Slovak Lands, the Church of Greece, Polish Church, Albanian Church, and the Church in America (OCA). All these Churches are independent and have their own hierarchy and their own first hierarchs – either Patriarchs, Metropolitans or Archbishops who head that local Church. We know that our Russian Church is headed by His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill. Orthodox Church in America is headed by Metropolitan Tikhon. They are the heads of the local Churches but the Head of the whole, Universal Church is Jesus Christ.”
“All these Churches hold the same holy Orthodox faith. They are independent in their administration and their internal life but they have the same faith, the same teaching. They all belong to the same Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church. And to define the truths of faith Universal Church called Ecumenical Councils. The decisions of those Councils are mandatory for all Orthodox people, for every local Orthodox Church. We believe that Ecumenical Councils are led by the Holy Spirit., and that their decisions are inspired by Him. If Catholics believe that the Pope of Rome is infallible when he preaches on faith or morals, we Orthodox believe that not a particular person but the whole Church is infallible, cannot make a mistake because the Holy Spirit would not let her to fall into an error.”
“There were 7 Ecumenical Councils in the history of the Church. At each of the Councils the Holy Fathers condemned certain false teachings called heresies. All the heresies of those times were condemned by those Councils and the true teaching of the Orthodoxy defined. After those Councils many new heresies emerged, and who knows, maybe there will be called a new Ecumenical Council to condemn them and to teach us again. Some attempts to prepare such a Council are being made.”
“Today we honor the Fathers of the First Council who despite the pressure from different powerful people and parties made right definitions of faith. Inspired by the Holy Spirit they declared the truth that our Lord Jesus Christ is true God, one in essence with God the Father.”
“Let us then glorify the Fathers of the First Council. Let us pray to them that despite various modern heresies we may be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ who established His Church on the earth strengthened by the holy hierarchs of the Councils. Let us give Him glory for the ages of ages!”

The choir beautifully performed the hymns of the feast of the Ascension and dedicated to the Holy Fathers of the First Council.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector congratulated our youngest parishioner, Elena Malyshev and her family on the occasion of her past name day. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.

Ascension of the Lord

 

On June 6 of this year the Orthodox Church celebrated great feast of the Ascension of the Lord. St. George parish had a nice celebration on this day. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy.

After the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He explained that Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven cannot be compared to the “ascension” of the first man into space in 1961. Our traveling by airplanes or flights into the outer space are only lifting upon the earth and in this earthly and visible world. Our Lord ascended into heaven meaning He passed over to the spiritual, invisible world, heaven which is the abode of God. The Son of God was there before His human birth and He returned there after accomplishing His mission of salvation.
The Lord also is waiting for us to join Him in heaven since all of us will have to leave this earthly world. Therefore, we need to prepare for that making all possible efforts to be worthy of heaven. We need to prefer heavenly, spiritual things and despise and avoid things which are inferior, passionate and sinful. Living in this inferior world does not mean adhere to all the passions and sins of this world. We do respect and follow certain laws and rules of the earthly life but we should avoid the evil things of this world.

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar server performed the rite of Glorification in front of the festal icon singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast.

Following the service the Rector preached a short sermon in English to stress the main thoughts of his Russian homily and congratulated the parishioners on the occasion of the great feast.

Sunday of the Blind Man

 

On June 2, on the Sunday of the Blind Man, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. Following the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows:
“Today the Holy Church in the Gospel story is telling us about a miracle performed by our Lord Jesus Christ when He healed a man born blind. That man never had a sight; he was born blind and he had no eyes. And behold, the Lord performs a miracle which is inconceivable for men. How did it happen?”
“The Lord spat on the ground, made clay with the saliva; thus He made the new eyes for that man. Then He anointed the spots on the face of that man where the eyes should be and told him to go to a pool of Siloam and to wash (Jn. 9, 6-7). And behold, the man began to see. This should convince us that our Lord Jesus Christ offers us the way of salvation through the Church rituals, through the ceremonies in which we materially touch something holy. We kiss the holy icons and the cross, we also kiss the relics. We sprinkle ourselves with holy water. And we consume the Body and Blood of Christ under the species of bread and wine.”

“But there are many of false teachers who say that those rites and the use of materials are not needed. They teach that we should believe in God spiritually and to come to know Him spiritually. In this way they are playing with the words of Christ that we heard in the Gospel lesson of the past Sunday: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4, 24). But, firstly, worshiping God in spirit and truth does not contradict the use of the holy objects or materials. And secondly, the Lord Himself is giving us an example of the use of a material and of the bodily touch with such a material in today’s Gospel story.”
“Of course, God can do anything and He was able to heal the blind man by His word or command alone. But Christ is making clay and is anointing the eyes of that man. Thus He shows him His love, desiring to touch the sick. And He also shows us that if the man’s body is made of matter, it needs a material touch, it needs a material intervention, some kind of a “surgery”. In the very beginning of the Sacred Scripture, in the book of Genesis, we read that God “formed man from the dust of the ground” (Gen. 2, 7). Thus He created man from the matter, from the same elements of which the world consists, from the same molecules and atoms. And that earthly body of ours needs the God’s touch, and the Lord is showing us that.”
“And the Lord established His Holy Church on the earth, so through the Church Sacraments and rites we would touch the sacred or materially receive the Sacraments through different materials, and that we were aware that the Lord is with us and that His divine power is sanctifying both our soul and our body.”
“Sadly, not everyone understands that. But today we read in the Gospel that also in the times of Christ not everybody was understanding that. Today we heard that the Jews, especially the Pharisees, did the whole investigation of the healing. They summoned the healed blind man many times and kept asking him how it happened. They called his parents and interrogated them. Then they began to accuse Jesus for being a “sinful man”. Finally, they got into a fight with the healed man and chased him away. People who had the eyes turned out to be blind because they failed to see the Son of God in Jesus.”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, we need a God’s blessing not only for our soul but for our body also. And if we understand that and believe in that, our soul won’t be blind as it was with soul of those Pharisees who performed an investigation of the healing.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! The Holy Church enables us to have a spiritual sight and to receive the blessing of God. By its holy rites and Sacraments it often bodily touches us to convey its spiritual power, the divine grace. We were baptized by water, chrismated by the Holy Chrism, we are anointed by holy oil in the Mystery of Unction. And finally, we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Without those things there is no Church life, no divine grace and no salvation. The Lord Himself comes to us in those holy rites in the same way as he touched the man born blind and healed him.”
“Let us then glorify the risen Christ who granted us eternal life. Let us follow the example of the healed blind man and worship the Lord Jesus (Jn. 9, 38). Let us worship Him always and remain faithful to Him, to His Holy Church and let us follow Him in our life on His way of salvation!”

The choir prayerfully performed Paschal Aposticha and hymns assigned to the Sunday of the Blind man and during the preparation for Holy Communion.

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

After the Liturgy we enjoyed some delicious food and a nice company at the coffee hour.

 

Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

 

On May 26, on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, we had a nice liturgical celebration in our temple. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily in English:

“In today’s Gospel lesson we heard how our Lord Jesus Christ was having a conversation with a Samaritan woman and how He was explaining to that plain and uneducated person the meaning of the faith. Jesus compared faith to the living water, the water that makes someone alive and strong. Our Lord compared faith to the water because water is necessary for our life. Human body needs water and if it does not get it, it dies. In the same way human soul needs faith, and if it does not have it, it dies.”
“Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke with the Samaritan woman and explained to her how one should worship God. He said that true worship must be “in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4, 23). And we attempt to worship our true God in spirit and truth. Today we gathered here, at our parish temple, to have this service of the Divine Liturgy. The Samaritan woman asked Jesus where it is a right place to worship true God – in Jerusalem where the Jews had the Temple, or on Mt. Gerizim where the Samaritans had their sanctuary (Jn. 4, 20). The Lord answered her that “the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father, and … when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4, 23). The words of Christ came true, and now we, Christian people, worship everywhere on earth, but we worship in the holy places we call the churches, or the temples of God. Each Orthodox church can be compared to a well from which we draw the water, a living water to make our souls alive.”
“Some people may ask, “Why do you need a church if God is everywhere?” We may answer to that: “Yes, God is everywhere. But water is also everywhere in the world, it is in the air. But if you are thirsty, you don’t drink from the air, but you come to the well”. Such a well of the living water is the holy temple of God.”
“The Samaritan woman asked the Lord, “You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?” (Jn. 4, 11). So we may have difficulties to understand how we get the living water of God’s grace attending the temple. People with no faith or little faith don’t see how it is possible. But the Lord said, He who believes in Me… out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7, 38). We need to believe, then we will be able to come to the source of the living water which is given to us by our Lord for our salvation.”
“By coming to the temple, by supporting the church we fill that holy place with the living water. Overcoming different temptations and obstacles we support our Orthodox faith in this mostly non-Orthodox environment. Could you imagine a city or a town living without water? Could the inhabitants survive without it? However, many cities and towns live without Orthodox churches, even in the old country […]. And if people have no water in their town, they suffer and have to go far to get the water, they get sick and contaminated. In the same way people live spiritually without holy churches: they do not have the saving spiritual water.”
“Truly, as a man uses water to wash away the dirt from his body, he needs a church to wash away the spiritual dirt. He needs the church to repent, to cleanse his soul, so it can become pure. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mt. 5, 8). He needs it to be filled with the grace of God. It is also true that if a man is thirsty and has no water, he can attempt to get it from other sources, and then becomes poisoned. In the same way if people have no pure faith, the Orthodox faith, they seek to get it from the wrong hands – from the false religions, from the false teachers, from the sourcerers or astrologers who offer them poisonous drinks.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! We are very happy to have our parish temple, a source of the living water. We are sinful and imperfect like that Samaritan woman, but she believed that Jesus who spoke with her was Christ, the Savior of the world. Thus we also will believe in Him and keep that holy Orthodox faith, we will quench our spiritual thirst at the well of our holy temple, so we may cleanse, so we may become spiritually whole, so we may be filled with true life in Christ and inherit in Him life eternal. Let us glorify the Risen Lord Jesus Christ who abides with us until the end of time and who is giving us true living water!”

The choir prayerfully performed the Aposticha of Pascha and the Stichera of the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman before Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian stressing the main ideas of his English homily. He also congratulated Vitaly Malyshev on the occasion of his birthday and expressed heartfelt wishes to him. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.

Sunday of the Paralytic

 

On May 19, on Sunday of the Paralytic, St. George parish family gathered for a nice liturgical celebration. It had been headed by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. He served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian.

In his homily Fr. Igor stressed that the paralytic in today’s Gospel story was waiting for 38 years at the Sheep Gate Pool and no one helped him. It tells about that man’s loneliness. The world around us is full of lonely people. A strange thing happens: we live in a world filled with so many people but many of us feel lonely. Some even say that loneliness is inevitable because finally we all end up being alone in the grave.
The paralytic in today’s Gospel lesson was also in a very crowded place, near a healing pool and in a big city of Jerusalem. But he was laying there alone and nobody helped him. Living in America we observe how people greet each other. They say, “Hi! How are you doing?” but these are just duty phrases. Not too many like to know how really are you doing. Sometimes if you begin responding to those phrases by telling the people about yourself, they either don’t listen and rush to say, “Good!” or they start to move away from you. This is a real loneliness of a person in today’s world.
But our Lord Jesus Christ acted totally different. He approached the paralytic, He spoke with him and He healed him. Jesus had acted as a true human being, a man without sin. The paralytic complained that he “had no man” to help him (Jn. 5, 7). Jesus became that man, God became Man to help not only the paralytic but the whole human kind.
Therefore, today’s story of the Paralytic teaches us to remember that God is with us. Even if we feel lonely in the world, God can always relate to us and is ready to help. Christ Himself said to His Disciples that they will abandon Him and He will suffer in loneliness. But He said, “Yet I am not alone for My Father is with Me” (Jn. 16, 32). Thus, if we believe in God, we should remember that we won’t remain alone in the grave but we will pass away to eternal life with the Lord.
This Gospel story also teaches us that in our loneliness we should join together in the Church. The Lord Jesus Christ established His Church, so we won’t be alone but will be helped spiritually and even bodily.
In the course of the history of mankind a number of people wished to be gods for their subjects. Yet God alone wished to become Man and did it, so we could be saved. Therefore, let us be grateful to Him for that and to strive to stay in the Church where we are not going to be lonely, but we may stay with God and His Saints in this life and in life eternal.

The choir beautifully performed the Stichera of Sunday of the Paralytic during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English addressing the main thoughts of his Russian homily. He also made some announcements regarding feast days of the coming week.

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

Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women

 

On May 12, on the Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women, we had a beautiful service at St. George Church. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov celebrated the Divine Liturgy. Following the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily in English:

“On the Third Sunday of Pascha we honor Holy Myrrh-bearing Women who were also the Disciples of Christ, along with Holy Apostles. This year today’s Sunday coincides with Mother’s Day, so it makes such a day a double celebration, a special feast honoring our Orthodox women.”
“When our Lord Jesus Christ was condemned to death, when He was crucified on the cross, no men followed Him and were present at Calvary. All His male Disciples, except John the Theologian, were scattered and afraid. However, His female followers remained faithful to Him and stayed with the Lord when He died. Of course, first of all, among them was His Blessed Mother, the Most Holy Theotokos. But there were other women who did not leave Christ at that horrific time of His passions and death.”
“It is common to consider women to be weaker and more fearful than men. However, this example from the life of our Lord proves that this stereotype can be wrong. Yes, women may be more fearful and weak, especially physically, but it all depends on their motivation and inspiration. Holy Myrrh-bearing Women were motivated by great love towards their Teacher and Lord. And they were inspired by great faith in Christ, the true God. Therefore, they disregarded the fear and their own weakness and followed Jesus until His death. They also disregarded the fear and weakness after His death but decided to come to His tomb to anoint His body with the spices. Great love and great faith led them. As St. John the Theologian said, “Perfect love drives out fear” (1 Jn. 4, 18). And as the Lord Himself said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you” (Mt. 17, 20).”
“Love was especially instilled by God in the heart of a woman. Woman is called by the Creator to be a mother of her children and a loving partner of man. These highly important tasks require a lot of love and compassion. In many women those gifts are cherished and multiplied. Many women are good mothers, so today we may praise them for their endeavor of motherhood. But it is more precious for Christian women to have also a spiritual attitude of love and care. It is more important not only to give birth to children and to care for them but to raise them in Christian faith and piety. Thus it is not enough to give a child a gift of earthly life – it is much more important to raise a child for life eternal. Holy Myrrh-bearing Women had such gifts and made them grow. They were led not only by earthly and human love but by great spiritual love towards their Lord and Savior. Thus they had no fear to approach His tomb. So, our Orthodox women nowadays also need a motivation by great love towards God and an inspiration by great faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“The history of the last century proved that our Orthodox women were worthy to be called the followers of the Holy Myrrh-bearers. During the godless persecutions of Christian faith many women kept their faith and love towards God. In the old country, under the Communist power, mostly women went to the temples, attended the church services while many men did not approach the church. Mostly women kept pious traditions, remembered the holy days and fasts. Those women – very often secretly – baptized  their children and grandchildren and later brought them to the church. Thanks to those women many young people found their faith in Christ in those years. What was driving those women? Their firm faith and their great love. In those seemingly faithless times they showed an example of faith. And they were radiant by love. Despite the slanderous imaging of religious people as mean and cruel fanatics, they were shining with love and compassion. They usually did not condemn or chastise the godless people but felt pity and prayed for them. We may note how different is that Christian religious attitude from the cruel and intolerant fanaticism of some other religions, for instance of the Islamic radicals. Therefore, true Orthodox can never become terrorists or other extreme fighters. Our Orthodox Christian people, especially women, are filled with real love and driven by true faith, not by hatred and malice.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, looking at the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women, let us cherish our faith and love towards God and other people. Let us pray the Risen Lord that He may bless our Orthodox women and mothers by the gift of true faith and great spiritual love. Let us pray to the Most Holy Theotokos that She may inspire our Orthodox women and mothers, so they may fulfill their God-given obligations of motherhood and caring fellowship and to continue to raise new generations of Christian people, granting their children the gift of life here and also life eternal!”

The choir prayerfully performed the Aposticha of Pascha during the time of preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian stressing the main thoughts of his English homily. He also congratulated our ladies on the occasion of this Sunday which is the Orthodox Women’s day, as well as on the Mother’s Day which this year fell on this Sunday. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.

The Rector and Warden of St. George attended Paschal Diplomatic Reception

 

On May 6, a traditional Paschal reception was held on behalf of the Administrator of Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, and Consul General of Russian Federation in New York, Sergey Ovsiannikov at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Manhattan.

Event was attended by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion; Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia; clergy of the Patriarchal Parishes, Antiochian and Serbian Churches, of the Russian Church Abroad and Orthodox Church in America. It was also attended by diplomats and representatives of community and cultural entities.

The Rector of St. George Church, Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Archpriest Igor Tarasov and our Warden, Olga Roussanow were also present at the reception.

After the prayer and welcoming words of the Hierarchs and the Consul General, the President of the Northern America Cultural Heritage Foundation “Northern Cross” Yury Sandulov presented a project to establish a memorial sign in honor of the Russian veterans, the Knights of St. George, buried in the cemetery of the Novo-Diveyevo monastery.

Before the reception, the choir of St. Nicholas Cathedral, conducted by Alexander Chaplinsky, performed Paschal hymns. Musical works were performed for the guests in the Cathedral Hall by the soloist of the Sretensky Monastery of Moscow choir, Konstantin Stepanov.

Antipascha. Celebration of the Parish Patronal Feast of St. George

 

On May 5, on the Sunday of Antipascha, or St. Thomas Sunday, we had a nice celebration at St. George Church. On this day we also observed our Patronal feast of Holy Great Victorious Martyr George transferred to Sunday from Monday, May 6.
Unfortunately, this year we had no guests for the Patron Saint’s celebration. Divine Liturgy at our parish temple was celebrated by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov with the most of our parishioners attending.

Following the lessons from the Holy Gospel the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He stressed that on Sunday after Pascha called the Antipascha, we need to renew our Paschal spirit of joyful celebration and spiritual uplifting. During the Bright week we got used to the Resurrection of Christ and could have already contaminated our souls with some sins. Now the Church gives us an opportunity to renew the right spirit of Pascha. A very important meaning of our feast is that Christ by His death and Resurrection had conquered the evil and hell. Many ancient icons of the Resurrection picture Him trampling the broken gates of hell and stretching His hands to Adam and Eve, leading them out of Hades. That is the meaning of Pascha: our Lord liberated human kind from hell and from death. Death begins with sin. We still die because we still commit sins but Jesus gives us a great opportunity to repent and to be with Him in eternal life.
Our Patron Saint, Holy Great Martyr George also called the Conqueror because he conquered evil in his heart and chose death for Christ rather than a sinful life of idolatry. He is often pictured killing a dragon. There is a story about that in his life. However, without doubting the truthfulness of that story, we need to understand that imaging of St. George as symbolic because he really killed the evil one in his life, destroyed the spirit of evil by his great endeavors of holiness.
In the conclusion of his homily, Fr. Igor called the faithful to pray the Risen Lord that He may renew in us the spirit of true celebration of Pascha. He also called to pray to St. George to intercede for us and to strengthen our spiritual efforts.

The choir beautifully performed Paschal hymns, hymns of Antipascha and in honor of St. George during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the Ambo prayer the Rector proclaimed a prayer for the distribution of Artos.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector and altar servers performed the rite of glorification before the icon of St. George singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of that Saint. The Rector also proclaimed a special prayer to St. George.

After that the Rector preached a short sermon in English stressing the ideas of his Russian homily. He also congratulated Vitaliy Malyshev on the iccasion of his name day, the memory of Venerable Vitalius. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed. Then the Artos had been distributed among the faithful.

Our celebration continued at the luncheon prepared by our ladies where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.