On March 24, on the First Sunday of Lent the Church celebrates Triumph of Orthodoxy. We had a solemn celebration on that day at St. George Church. The Rector, priest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. A substantial number of parishioners received the Sacrament of Penance before the Liturgy started.
After the reading of the Gospel Fr. Igor preached a homily. He explained that Orthodoxy means a right or correct teaching. Every teaching can be altered,thus people need a correct interpretation. For the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ such correct interpretation is Orthodoxy. Basic truth of the Orthodox faith is that God became Man, the truth of Incarnation.And because He took upon Himself our flesh, we can image Him. This teaching was defined by the VII Ecumenical Council.
“Because Jesus being God is also Man, we can picture Him in a human form. Those pictures are the holy icons. We can see God through them.”
“Philip told Nathanael, “Come and see” (Jn. 1, 46): Nathanael was wondering how can “anything good come out of Nazareth” (Jn. 1, 46). In the same way some people can be asking, “Can we worship God who is Man”? Or, “how can we picture God who is invisible?”
These are the questions coming either from those who honestly wish to believe (like Nathanael who was an Israelite with no deceit) or from those who believe incorrectly (like heretics).”
“We Orthodox can answer to both, “Come and see”. Let them come to the Orthodox church and see the holy icons. Let them see our faith in all its beauty. Let them see our services and the people praying the true God incarnate.”
“God did come in an accessible and even human form. The Old Testament Trinity: the 3 men (3 Angels) appearing to Abraham. It is one of our most beautiful icons written by Venerable Andrey Rublev. If God did so to Abraham, why we should not image Him in Jesus Who was a true human being?
Despite the doubts of man (including the doubts of Nathanael) there is a true teaching of Christ saying that God became Man and we venerate His image. We venerate not wood and paint but the One pictured on and by them. And doing so, keeping this Orthodox faith we may see in the future the divine glory, “heaven open, and the Angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (Jn. 1, 51).” – preached Fr. Igor.