On January 15, on the Sunday before the Theophany, we had a nice celebration in our parish temple. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel reading he preached a homily in Russian.
In his homily, the Rector said that on Sunday before the feast of the Theophany in all the Orthodox churches we read the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark. If on Sunday before Christmas we read the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, today we listen to the beginning of the Gospel of Mark. It tells us about St. John the Baptist who preached in the wilderness. The people came to the wilderness to hear his words. St. John was the Forerunner of Christ, the one who was coming before the Messiah to prepare His appearance to the world. But St. John called the people themselves to be prepared. He called them: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight” (Mk. 1, 3).
Often we complain that God does not help us in our life. When we have troubles, sorrows and sufferings, it may seem that God abandoned us. But for God to be with us in our sorrows and for Him to bless us in our lives we need to prepare our souls top receive Him. We need to follow the call of St. John the Forerunner and make an effort, perform a spiritual labor.
The choir prayerfully sang the hymns during the preparation for Holy Communion.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in English addressing the main ideas of his Russian homily.
Following the Rector’s sermon our parish Warden Olga Roussanow congratulated Fr. Igor on the occasion of his past birthday and presented him with a small gift. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.
At the request of Malyshew family the Rector also performed a memorial service (Litia) in commemoration of Maria Malyshew’s deceased mother Irina.
Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.