On July 21, on the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan, our Parish family had a nice celebration. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.
Following the Gospel reading the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He pointed out that demonic possession can manifest itself as an extreme form described in today’s Gospel lesson, or not so clearly. The latter happens very often if we neglect the God’s law or disregard it. The inhabitants of the Gergesine region kept the swine and probably consumed pork meat because they disregarded the Law of Moses. Thus the Lord punished them permitting the demons to enter the herd of swine and allowing the evil spirits to destroy those animals. Similar things happen to the people who disregard God and His law. They become demon-possessed.
All our modern civilization tends to serve Satan because it serves human passions and sinful desires. Our technological progress is directed to degrade us to the lowest level of spirituality and culture. Contemporary man becomes more and more alienated from nature, and we lose all the gracious natural gifts and the laws given by God. We have no real connection to the nature above which man was set as a master, thus the nature is no longer controlled by humanity. All our technologies are an abuse of nature, its defilement and alteration. We all know what disasters are taking place nowadays because of that systematic destruction of our natural environment.
All this happens because contemporary people lose God. And after losing God humanity destroys absolutely everything. It spoils itself, the environment and the future generations. Such misfortunes concern not only nature, but social life as well. All modern social changes officially directed towards human freedom and human rights, in fact, lead to enslavement of human being. Our civilization leads us to the Gadarine Lake where the herd of swine was thrown. And humanity strives to get there.
People easily deceived by the decoys of modern civilization, in fact, forget about culture and lose it. And by losing culture they lose the sense of spirituality and become similar to animals, to those swine that threw themselves into the lake.
This is why it is important to preserve spiritual culture, not to lose human image even in today’s world full of the challenges from the civilization that lost spirituality. Only preservation of spiritual values leads man to the real and true domination here on earth. Man becomes a true master over the nature only if he acquires true spiritual culture.
Unfortunately, nowadays such spiritual culture is almost lost. But we can feed ourselves from our past, from our Christian and Orthodox roots which last already more than thousand years. If we nurture from those roots, we may not lose our spiritual culture and even make it grow.
The Rector concluded his homily by calling the faithful to pray to the Most Holy Theotokos Whose Icon of Kazan we honor today, that She may lead us to the true understanding of our spiritual roots and that She may help us to preserve our faith and spiritual culture leading us to God and salvation.
The choir prayerfully performed the hymns in honor of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan during preparation for Holy Communion.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector said a few words in English addressing the points of his Russian homily.