Approaching Sunday of All Saints: A Sermon of an Orthodox Priest


This upcoming Sunday the Holy Orthodox Church commemorates All Saints of the Church. The Descent of the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to rise above our fallen state and to attain sainthood, thereby fulfilling God’s directive to “be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44, 1 Peter 1:16, etc.). Therefore, it is fitting to commemorate All Saints on the first Sunday after Pentecost. This reminds us of our calling and dignity, having received the great gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is the ONLY way to freedom, equality and justice. We will not achieve true freedom or justice by protests, rioting or elections. Rather, we achieve it only with the work of the Holy Spirit. We achieve it by pursuing holiness. St. John of Kronstadt (+1908) says: “What is holiness? Freedom from all sin and the fullness of all virtue. This freedom from sin and virtuous living is achieved only by a few who are zealous and faithful, and then not quickly, but gradually, by many prolonged sorrows, illnesses and labors, fasting, vigil, prayer, and then not by our own strength, but with the grace of Christ.”
Sadly, our society has become secularized and separated from God. WE have re-defined what WE think is moral and rejected the truth of God. WE have become the “center” of our lives, pushing out God. WE have redefined gender, marriage and even life. WE have made truth subjective, based on human thinking, and abandoned Holy Scriptures. And WE have embraced political correctness and become ashamed to defend and live by God’s Word.
Why then are we surprised that our society has become so fragmented and violent? Why are we frustrated that we cannot find a common cause? And why do we embrace our political parties and defend politicians as our ‘saviors’.
I think you know the answers to these questions…Let us NOT be like Pontius Pilate who infamously asked ‘what is truth?’ (John 18:38). We have been given the truth and the light – Christ. If we reject God’s truth and His Light, then we can only expect confusion and darkness. O Lord have mercy on us, enlighten our minds and hearts to see and embrace only Thy truth and Thy light…and no other.

Archpriest John Vass
Rector of the Holy Trinity Church in Baltimore, MD
Dean of Central States