On December 9, on the 28th Sunday after Pentecost, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov celebrated the Divine Liturgy at our parish temple. Following the readings from the Sacred Scripture he preached a homily in Russian.
Fr. Igor said that the Gospel lesson about the healing of a woman who was bent over for 18 years and was healed when she came to a synagogue, may tell us about an importance of the God’s temple in our life. Recently we have celebrated feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God into Temple, so we drew our thoughts to the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. The Jews had only one temple and in all other places of their habitation they gathered to pray in the synagogues. A synagogue (the word meaning ‘an assembly’, a gathering together) was a place of worship where the Jews could pray and read the Scripture. They could not offer sacrifices there since it was reserved for the Temple only. We Christians gather in our temples which are the places of prayer, reading of the Word of God and places where Holy Sacraments are officiated. So every Christian church is a continuation of the Temple of Jerusalem but we offer the sacrifice with no blood, the sacrifice of the New Testament, the Holy Eucharist, instead of the Old Testament offerings of the animals. We gather not at one place but everywhere in the world.
And like that woman who had been sick for 18 years and became healed in the synagogue, we may become healed in our temple. If that woman was healed physically, we may become healed spiritually, through the grace of God. Our souls are like that poor woman – bent over because of sins. And we need to straight up through the healing power of Christ. If we repent, confess our sins and receive Communion, we become healed. This may happen in the temple of God, so we should appreciate, love and cherish our temple.
The choir prayerfully performed hymns in honor of St. George since on that day we commemorate consecration of the church in Kiev dedicated to him, our parish Patron Saint.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in English addressing the main ideas of his Russian homily. He also congratulated our young parishioner and altar server, Anton Malyshev, on the occasion of his past birthday. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.