On June 18, on the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, as well as Sunday of All Saints of the Land of Rus’, we had a nice celebration at St. George Church. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. Following the Gospel reading he preached a homily in Russian.
In his homily the Rector pointed out that according to the Gospel story of Christ calling His first Apostles (Mt. 4, 18-23) that we heard today, the first Apostles very easy responded to the calling of Christ. This happened because they were very faithful and devout people who sincerely awaited the coming of the Messiah. But the same calling to follow Christ is also made for all of us. Not everyone is called to become an Apostle; this call is for those who wish to serve the Lord and the Church. But everyone is called to follow Christ, to join Him in His Kingdom.
The Saints of Rus’ whom we honor on this Sunday also discerned that calling of Christ. From the beginning of our Christianity, the people of Rus’ embraced the true faith with sincerity and great zeal. The spirit of Christ made our Baptizer, St. Vladimir so meek that he refused to execute the criminals. The words of Christ calling to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Mt. 5, 48) inspired many to become monks and nuns in the lands of Rus’, like Venerable Fathers Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves. And later many holy men and women – martyrs, hierarchs, venerable ascetics and righteous people were appearing in the lands of Rus’ and shining by their holy lives. And in the recent times of the turbulence and godless power our Church produced many new Saints, martyrs and confessors who refused to go with the flow of refusal of faith, but they chose the way to follow Christ. And all of them heard the same voice which called the first Disciples: “Follow Me”.
We should be happy that we have such a many Saints from our home country. For the most of us, they are related to us by flesh, they are our ancestors. They know our needs, they know our difficulties and shortcomings. And they pray the Lord for us. And we should ask them for their intercession and imitate them in their readiness to follow Christ in this life and in the life eternal.
The choir beautifully performed the hymns dedicated to the Saints of Rus’ during preparation for Holy Communion.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English to explain main ideas of his Russian homily. He also congratulated our men on the occasion of Father’s Day. The traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta”) was proclaimed.