17th Sunday after Pentecost. Celebration of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God


On October 16, on the 17th Sunday after Pentecost we at St. George Church also celebrated feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God transferred to the following Sunday. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the readings from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily in English:

“Dear brothers and sisters! Today, we celebrate feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God. We commemorate our Lady’s miraculous appearance in the church in Constantinople and saving of the imperial city from the attack of the enemies happened in the 8th century. The two holy men, Andrew and Epiphanius saw the Holy Mother of God appearing in the temple and covering the city with Her veil. After that the city was spared and the enemies retreated. This was a remarkable example of the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin for the Christian people.”

“We should always remember to honor the Most Holy Mother of God and pray to Her in our needs. And we have to remember that we will receive according to our faith and devotion. We must show the zeal and piety in order to attain help.”
“Our times are no less troublesome for the Church and Christian people than the times when the celebrated event of the Protection took place. The holy city of the Church and Christian civilization is now under attack from many enemies. Especially it is attacked from the two most dangerous sides. On one side it is being attacked by today’s liberal and godless society which demands the Church to renounce her spirit and the teaching of Christ in favor of the ideals of fallen and sinful humanity. On the other side Christian civilization is being taken over by the Muslims who come to live to Christian countries and wish to influence them by their faith. It is no secret that Muslims are also involved in the most of the acts of terror.”
“Considering these two challenges we Christians face in today’s world, we should ask ourselves a question, “What is so different about us that other people would see that we are right?” Or, “What can we offer to this world, so others could follow us, instead of following the false calls of our challengers?” Today’s first Gospel lesson is giving us an answer. Our Lord says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return” (Lk. 6, 32-35). If we follow what the Lord said we make a difference in the world.”
“In today’s world everybody is looking for an average. We hear that constantly: the average American, the average husband, the average wife, the average child. If you think of that you may learn that averages are dangerous. A man who trusted the average data tried to make across the river whose average depth was two feet. He drowned in water twelve feet deep! But we are told that average means normal. On that basis the people are told that pre-marital sex is normal while self-control, chastity and virginity are abnormal because an average young person engages in pre-marital sex. We are told that an average husband is unfaithful, so infidelity in marriage is normal while being faithful is abnormal. If an average person is doing it, no matter what it is, it becomes normal. The average thus becomes our idol whom we worship at the altar of public opinion.”
“Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to be not average but above average. If an average person loves those who love him, we ought to do more. If an average person lends to those from whom he expects to receive back, we need to do more. If an average person loves his friends and hates his enemies, we ought to love both our friends and our enemies. Are other people, for instance the Muslim people, righteous? We Christians are called to be more righteous. Are the Muslims generous? We are called to be more generous? Are the liberals in our society understanding and tolerant? We are called to be more understanding and more tolerant. For this reason the Lord called His disciples the light of the world, the salt of the earth. The Saints were not average. They were above average.”
“Especially all these things are true about the Most Holy Mother of God. She was certainly way above the average. And this is why She is now our Protectress in heaven. And our second answer to the questions we ask should be the following. We may prove that we are different and can offer something others cannot offer to this world. We may prove it by offering our prayers to the Most Holy Mother of God, by venerating Her and by asking Her to cover the whole sinful world by the veil of Her Protection.”

Before the Communion of the faithful choir beautifully performed the singing of the hymns dedicated to the Protection of the Mother of God.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector along with the altar servers performed a rite of Glorification in front of the icon of the feast singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Protection.

The Rector also preached a short sermon in Russian addressing the main points of his English homily. He also called the parents bringing their children to the church to teach them to behave properly during the Divine Liturgy, especially at the most solemn moments of the service.

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

16th Sunday after Pentecost. Passing of St. John the Theologian


On October 9, on the 16th Sunday after Pentecost and feast of the Passing of St. John the Theologian our Parish community had a nice celebration in our temple. St. George’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy.

Following the Scripture readings he preached a homily in Russian. In that homily he pointed out that according to the story from the Gospel assigned for this day (Lk. 5, 1-11) the human understanding of things may be different from the God’s view. We should trust God and His perfect vision of the things. Although God is ineffable and incomprehensible He may also be very close and approachable to us. Holy Apostle and Evangelist John whom we honor today could stress this in his writings. He said, “God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4, 16). Therefore, if we abide in love, God is within us although He is so ineffable and unapproachable. In Christ all impossible things become possible and man unites with God.

The choir directed by Olga Roussanow prayerfully sang the hymns of the feast.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector and the altar servers performed a rite of Glorification singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of St. John the Theologian. The Rector also preached a short sermon in English expressing the main thoughts of his Russian homily.

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


On October 2, 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. Following the Gospel lesson he delivered the following homily in English:

“Dear brothers and sisters! Today we celebrate Sunday after the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Our Lord teaches us in today’s Gospel that His every true follower has to deny himself and take up the cross (Mk. 8, 34). Thus a Christian life requires a sacrifice and an endeavor.”
“A lot of us grew up listening to stories of heroes who sacrificed themselves for their country. They were often about heroes of different wars, especially the Second World War. Sometimes, we heard about people in other countries and even some of the Church’s Saints. But whatever we heard, we may notice that all these stories teach us courage, patience, hard work and self-denial. In some cases, the hero gave his or her own life to save others.”
“Our Savior, Jesus Christ, explained how all of us can be heroes of self-sacrifice. He taught this in today’s Gospel saying that by saying that whoever wants to be like Christ must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Him. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Christ and the Gospel will save his life. And whoever is ashamed of being with Jesus (in or out of church) and ashamed of His teachings will be rejected by Christ when He returns on Judgment Day.”
“In some instances, a person sacrifices all his or her life to some noble cause and lives to fulfill it. This is seen in many men and women who dedicate themselves to the monastic life. This is also seen when a young mother decides to raise a child without any help from her relatives and renounces her own personal or professional life for this child. But self-denial may also lead to the ultimate sacrifice, not to dedicating, but to losing one’s life in the name of the Gospel. Our calendar is full of different Saints, especially the Holy Martyrs who lost their lives for Christ and for the Gospel.”
“Today we commemorate my patron Saint, Holy faithful prince Igor who lived in the XII century. Although he is not a clear example of a person who died for Christ, his tragic destiny showed how the words of today’s Gospel are true. St. Igor became the Great Prince of Kiev at the time of a cruel struggle for the Kievan throne between the two princely factions. He belonged to one of them and he was placed on the throne of Kiev by that group. But after being betrayed by his own subjects who kissed the cross to be faithful to him, after losing a battle to his enemies and after being held captive, St. Igor agreed to renounce this world and to become a monk.  He probably understood the words of Christ who said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mk. 8, 36). The power of a prince which he lost so fast, and the throne of Kiev which was taken away from St. Igor – all this proved that there is no profit for a man to gain anything if he loses his soul. Therefore, St. Igor being tonsured a monk, decided to retire from the political struggle and to spend the rest of his life in endeavors of piety. However, the evil people from the Kievan nobility decided to kill the prince-monk. They incited the mob who attacked St. Igor in the church, during the Divine Liturgy, seized him and tried to murder. He was first rescued by his brother, but the mob chased Igor further and finally brutally killed him. As I said, although St. Igor did not die for Christ sake, he did die because of the evil which overcame human nature of his enemies. Those people did not wish to follow Christ because they did not deny their sinful nature, their evil desires and cruel passions. A Christian should understand that political, social and other preferences are not so important as our spiritual life. Nowadays people tend to be very passionate about their political preferences or social views, making others who hold different views their enemies. Hostility and enmity became a usual attitude. But we should understand that this leads us to a sinful passion. And we should avoid that attitude remembering that our political positions should not interfere with our spiritual life.”
“Remembering about the Holy Martyrs honored by the Church we should also remember that there are also persecutions and murders going on at this minute. Christians are harassed and killed all the time all over the place. This is not new, but it is a new manifestation of an old hatred of Jesus and His Church and His Gospel.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us understand our true calling, a calling of a Christian. It is to deny ourselves, to deny our sinful nature, an evil nature and passions. Let us take our crosses by fulfilling our duties and being patient in our lives. Let us follow Christ who Himself is the Way to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom to which we can come by the way of the Holy Cross.”

The choir prayerfully performed the hymns dedicated to the Holy Cross, as well as to St. Igor commemorated on that day. We were glad to welcome the guests from St. Nicholas Church in Whitestone, Thomas and Alexandra Zedlovich who joined our choir in singing during the service.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy our parish Warden, Olga Roussanow congratulated the Rector on the occasion of his name day presenting Fr. Igor with a gift. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.

After being greeted on his name day the Rector also congratulated our parishioners Vera Koretz and Sophia Kay on the occasion of their past name day and proclaimed the Polychronion for them.

Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners, along with some guests of the Parish, enjoyed delicious meals and an interesting conversation. The toasts to Fr. Igor, as well as for Vera and Sophia were raised.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On September 27 the Orthodox Church celebrates feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross. On that holy day e had a liturgical celebration in our temple. Before the reading of the Hours St. George’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov placed the cross in the middle of the church and venerated it. After the Hours he began the Divine Liturgy.

Unfortunately, during the reading of the Holy Gospel one of our parishioners, Vitaliy Malyshew, felt very ill and fainted. The Rector paused the reading but very soon was able to finish it. But the service had to be interrupted to assist the ill and to call an ambulance for him. After the ambulance took Mr. Malyshew to the hospital the Rector could resume the service of the Liturgy.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector performed the rite of Glorification before the Cross singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Exaltation. At the end of the celebration he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters! Our today’s celebration was interrupted by an unfortunate incident. It happened during the reading of the Holy Gospel. And such a thing happened during such an important and holy moment not for the first time. It proves to us that the evil force exists and attacks true Christians. But, dear brothers and sisters, all the evil forces can be conquered by the power of the Precious and Life-creating Cross of Christ!
“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 Greco-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.”
“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.”
“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.”

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


On September 25, on the Sunday before Exaltation our Parish gathered for a liturgical celebration. In addition to Sunday celebration we also observed feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. St. George’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy.

After the Scripture readings the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He pointed out that in the Epistle to the Galatians assigned for this day St. Paul says that by “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6, 14). It means that St. Paul after his conversion to Christ became strange to the world, and the world became strange to him. However, in today’s Gospel lesson the Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3, 16). The world that became strange to Paul, that same world is so loved by God! How can we reconcile the words from the Epistle and the Gospel?
In order to understand that we need to read further the chapter of the Gospel passage assigned for today. Jesus says the world is going to be judged because the light came into that world but men loved darkness rather than light (Jn. 3, 19). That light is our Lord Jesus Christ. He came to the world to redeem it by His death on the cross. But not all men believed in Him; they loved darkness. From the world of such men St. Paul and all Christian champions of faith were renouncing. Such a world is full of evil and is our enemy. But, on the other hand, faithful also live in this world. And for them our Savior willed to suffer.
Fr. Igor further reflected upon the great generosity of God who offered Himself for us. This is the most generous gift. But we who wish to be the followers of Christ need to learn to be generous. Celebrating the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God we may recall that righteous Joachim and Anna were very generous. They lived only on one third of their income giving one third to the poor and one third for the Temple. And the Most Holy Mother of God was generous by offering all Her life to God, to Her Son, Jesus Christ. Her generosity continues in heaven where She keeps helping us.
In conclusion of his homily the Rector called the faithful to retreat from the sinful world but to love the world praying for it and serving the neighbor. He called to love God in return for His generous love and to show generosity to others.

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

13th Sunday after Pentecost


On September 18, on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, St. George Church had a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily in English:

“Today’s Gospel lesson tells us a parable about vineyard and about its evil tenants. The story was addressed to the leaders of the Jews, to those who did not accept Jesus as their Messiah and who wished to destroy Him.”
“The meaning of this parable is quite simple. The landowner is God the Father. He planted a vineyard which is Israel, the holy nation of God, the Church of the Old Testament. The tenants are the leaders entrusted with the care of God’s people. According to the parable they did not wish to give the owner His share of grapes. God sent His servants to them. Those servants are the Prophets, sent by God in the times of the Old Testament to proclaim His will. The tenants beat and killed the servants. The Jewish leaders persecuted the Prophets and really killed some of them. Today we commemorate Holy Prophet Zachariah and righteous Elizabeth, parents of St. John the Baptist. St. Zachariah was a priest in the holy Temple and he was one of the latest Prophets before Christ. He was killed right in the Temple, between the offering table and the altar. Such was the destiny of many Prophets. Since those servants of God were mistreated and not listened, God sent His onlybegotten Son. The Jewish leaders might honor the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. But in their envy and impiety they murdered the Son as well. He was cast out of the holy city of Jerusalem and crucified, just as the landowner’s son in the parable was cast out of the vineyard and killed.”
“The biggest mistake those evil tenants made was to think that the vineyard was his own possession, not the property of the landowner. And the leaders of the Jews also began to think that Israel is their own possession, so they can rule over it without God and without His Messiah.”
“Now all of us, the true followers of Christ, became the holy nation of God. We are His Church, the Church of the New Testament. Thus it is important for us is to be the new and worthy tenants of God’s vineyard. And the lesson of this parable remains as a stern warning for us too. We may also commit the same grave mistake as those tenants of the parable. We may begin to see ourselves not as humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord but as its owners. Such a danger is closer and more real for us the clergy – bishops, priests, and deacon, who are called to work at the vineyard of the Lord. It is the danger of forgetting that the vineyard of the Church is not our property, but His, who, in the time of the harvest, will demand of us “to bear fruit.” And such an error had been committed by the Church of Rome. The popes began to see themselves the supreme authority in the Church, forgetting that the head of the Church is Jesus Christ Himself. This is why the Russian writer Dostoyevsky pictured that attitude in his “Legend about the Great Inquisitor”. In that story of the great Russian thinker, the Roman Catholic prelate tells Jesus Himself that they do not need Him, that they perfectly manage without Him and that His coming is very inconvenient for their ruling over the people of God.”
“But the same danger may await us, the Orthodox clergy. We may also think that the Church is our own property, not God’s. God gives us a warning through Prophet Isaiah: “What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it?” (Is. 5, 4). Indeed, He planted the vineyard, He called us to work and cultivate His spiritual grapes. Yet, He is the vine; we are the branches. If we remain in Him we will bear much fruit; for apart from Him we can do nothing (Jn. 15, 5).”
“Sometimes we also hear that the lay people make the same mistake when they talk of the Church as if it was their property, as it belonged to them. They do it because they or their parents played some role in the construction or decoration of the building. My dear, if the Church is yours, then it is not the Lord’s, and if it is not the Lord’s then it is not the Church!”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us all of us, clergy and laity, avoid the mistakes of the evil tenants. Let us avoid their ungratefulness, their hardening of the hearts. Let us instead repeat and proclaim with gratitude the last words of today’s Gospel: “This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Mt. 21, 42).”

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

The Rector congratulated our long-time parishioner Natalia Soho on the occasion of her past name day. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was sung.

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


Winter Service Schedule


Please, note that beginning with Sunday, September 18 we are going to return to our winter schedule. Our Sunday services will begin at 10:00 AM.
For more information please check our monthly Service Schedule.

12th Sunday after Pentecost. Beheading of St. John the Baptist

On September 11, on the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, St. George Parish had a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.

Following the Scripture lessons the Rector preached a homily in Russian. In that homily he pointed out that the Gospel readings assigned for today may leave us a little disturbed. In the first lesson from the Gospel of Matthew the Lord tells that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven (Mt. 19, 16-26). Jesus goes on and says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Thus, salvation is a difficult task. And in today’s second Gospel lesson we heard the story of an unjust killing of St. John the Baptist (Mk. 6, 14-30). It leaves us with an impression that good may not necessarily overcome evil. But if we examine those readings carefully, we may see that they give us some encouragement. The Lord says to the young man that if he wishes to enter into eternal life, he has to keep the Commandments. Therefore, it is enough for our salvation if we obey the God’s law, if we do not break the Commandments. If we wish to go further, we may follow the advice our Lord gives: to distribute possessions. But it is not a command. For the most people keeping the Commandments is enough to enter the Kingdom of God. Some people desire to go further. In Christianity it is called the monastic life. Monks take the vows, for instance, the vow of poverty, renouncing any material wealth. Our today’s celebrated Saint, Holy Forerunner and Baptist John also renounced all worldly things and led a life dedicated to the Lord in the desert. He was an example of such striving for perfection which cannot be imitated by many. However, no one is obligated to be a monk. Most of us do not even able to keep the Commandments. The problem is that most of the people violate them at least once in their lives. This is why we need to remember the encouraging words of Christ said in today’s Gospel: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Mt. 19, 26). Without God’s help we cannot even keep the Commandments because of our sinful nature. Therefore, we need to acquire the God’s help to reach our salvation.

The choir prayerfully sung the hymns dedicated to the feast of the Beheading.

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in English to address the main ideas of his Russian homily.

11th Sunday after Pentecost

On September 4, on the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, our Parish Family held a nice celebration in our temple. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in English.

Fr. Igor pointed out that in the Gospel lesson assigned for this Sunday the Lord instructs us that we need to forgive our neighbors in order to receive God’s forgiveness. In English language the word “forgive” is connected to the word “give”. Forgiveness is giving of ourselves. Giving is very important in Christianity. In ancient times Christians coming for the Liturgy used to bring different things to the temple. They brought what was needed for the community. This was called “Proskomedia” which translates as offering. Nowadays Proskomedia is limited to the faithful’s giving of the commemoration lists to the priest to remember at the Liturgy. But the Church still needs your donations to support the parish.
But forgiving is even more important than giving because it is not giving of something, but giving of ourselves.

Since on the first Sunday 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 was prayerfully singing the hymns of the Dormition, the feast which had still been celebrated on that day.

After the Ambo prayer the Rector offered a Prayer for the preservation of creation. After that he also offered a prayer for the schoolchildren who begin their new school year. The Rector blessed our children and wished them a successful study and acquiring of knowledge.

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

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

10th Sunday after Pentecost. Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God


On August 28 of this year in addition to the 10th Sunday after Pentecost the Orthodox Church celebrated greatest feast of the Most Holy Mother of God, Her glorious Dormition. We had a beautiful celebration in our parish. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the Scripture readings he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we came together to hold a double celebration. As we do every Sunday, we commemorate Christ Resurrection. And today we also observe the great holy day of the Most Holy Mother of God, Her Dormition.”
“Today’s first Gospel lesson tells us about the power of faith. Our Lord Jesus Christ assures His Disciples, “I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to here,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Mt. 17, 20).”
“Faith gives us a great potential. Jesus tells us about an ability to move the mountains. Although it was never seen that mountains were physically moved because of someone’s faith, the true faith is really able to work great things. A lot of human achievements were done because the people who worked for them did possess great faith and trust in God and in His help. They also believed in their own potential if such potential is blessed by God and assisted by divine grace.”
“Again, although man cannot really move the mountains, he has a great potential. We are created to be able of many good and great things. Man was designed to be an image and likeness of God, so we have great abilities. Some of them became taken away from us or limited after the fall of Adam. For instance, I personally suspect that before we sinned we had an ability to fly. This is why sometimes, especially when we are young, we have dreams of flying. But some holy men were able to be lifted up from the ground. The lives of Venerable Mary of Egypt and of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov tell us that these Saints were seen elevated, lifted up while they were intensively praying. Some other Saints were also able to lift up and move from one place to another.”
“Today we celebrate feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, the most important and the greatest solemnity of the Blessed Virgin. Holy tradition says that the Apostles who were in the different countries of the world became taken by an unknown force and brought to Jerusalem to participate in the burial of the Blessed Virgin. There were no airplanes in those days, but the Apostles came together just like in our days people travel by air using airplanes to get together for some important occasions.  They were brought by air to bury the Most Holy Mother of God. This was done by the special force generated from the Almighty God, but it happened because of the faith and fidelity of the Holy Apostles.”
“On the other hand, being lifted up from the ground, levitation may be a result of a demonic possession. Today’s first Gospel lesson is telling us about a man who was possessed by an evil spirit. It depends on which power is working through us, the power of God or the power of the devil.  If we recall the Most Holy Mother of God, we may learn that the power of the devil had no effect on Her. Holy Mary was without sin. Roman Catholics holding that belief could not figure how this was possible since Blessed Virgin was a human being. Thus they came to a rational conclusion that She must have been preserved by God from any sin, even the original sin of Adam and Eve. They adopted a dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, stating that She was conceived and born without sin. But such a dogma is strange to the authentic Christian tradition. Orthodox Christians had always believed that the Theotokos was without sin, however this was not an act of creating Her like that by God, but a result of Her personal blessedness, Her righteousness and Her gracious life. Mary was not some kind of a  robot created without an ability to sin. Her own choice, Her obedience to God and Her humility made Her more honorable than the Cherubim and by far more glorious than the Seraphim. This is why today in our second Gospel lesson the Lord teaches that not only being His Mother, to bear and to nurse Him made Mary the Blessed one, but that She heard the word of God and kept it (Lk. 11, 27-28).”
“This is why, dear brothers and sisters, righteous life and faith of the Most Holy Mother of God made Her able to lift up above the sinful human nature. They made Her able to be elevated above the sinful earth and be ascended above the fallen mankind. And if faith, according to the words of Christ, can move the mountains, it certainly lifted up the Most Holy Mother of the Savior. It lifted Her up so much that when She had to pass away from this life, She did not taste death of a sinful human being but after Her falling asleep She was risen from the dead and taken up to heaven.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Having these instructions of the Lord and seeing the examples of the Saints, especially of the Most Holy Mother of God, let us cherish and cultivate our faith. Let us practice and not cease our prayer and fasting. Then we can move any mountain which would stay on our way to salvation and we could be lifted up above all our troubles of earthly life and above the temptations of the evil one. With faith and with the intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos we can reach heavenly glory, being united there with our Lord and with the His Blessed Mother!”

Many faithful desired to go to confession on this holy day and most of the people attending the Liturgy received Holy Communion.

The choir beautifully and prayerfully sang festal hymns dedicated to the Most Holy Theotokos.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector along with the altar severs 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 Dormition.

After the service the Rector preached a short sermon in English stating main thoughts of his Russian homily. He also made some announcements and called the parishioners to be generous in supporting the church with their donations.

Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company. At the time of the dessert a birthday cake was presented to the smallest parishioner Elena Malyshew who recently celebrated her 3th birthday.