8th Sunday after Pentecost


On August 15, on the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we heard the Gospel story of a miraculous feeding of the five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Our Lord Jesus Christ worked a great miracle: a large number of people were fed with such a small amount of food. It is interesting that this miracle is described in all 4 Gospels. It makes us understand how important this event was among the other works of our Savior”.
“The Gospel of Matthew which we heard today tells that Jesus seeing so many people following Him He “was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” (Mt. 14, 14). After that, also due to His compassion He decides to feed these people with 5 breads. This is a very elementary work – to feed the hungry, a basic work of mercy. And the Lord does it in a perfect, miraculous way. We might consider that this is the fulfillment of His mission – to heal the sick, to feed the hungry and to make everybody happy. Many Jews expected their Messiah to do just that – to build a perfect society, to give enough food, a lot of wealth and to make Israel strong and independent country. But we should know that the real mission of the Son of God was not directly related to the things of this world. He brought us salvation from sin, not from poverty or starvation. He came to redeem us from the captivity of the evil one, and not to provide us with a good lifestyle. Our Lord wished to give us the real and eternal life, a life truly abundant, and not just good life here on earth”.
“Many people wished to build a better society, to make a good life only here, on earth. For instance, the Socialists used to exclaim: “First feed the hungry and then demand them to be moral!” They promised good life here if they overthrow the governments and the kings and build their societies based on social justice. But when they succeeded, they created much worse life with more oppression of the people, and they could not solve even social problems. The hungry were still around and even grew in their number”.
“This is why our Lord Jesus Christ in the very beginning of His mission, when He was tempted in the wilderness, rejected the proposal of the devil to command the stones to become bread. If He did He could feed all the hungry, to solve a social problem. But Jesus said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt. 4, 4). Only the knowledge of the will of God can make us happy. Without that knowledge we won’t be able to solve any social problem”.
“Therefore, the significance of the miracle of feeding those 5 thousand people with 5 loaves of bread is not about giving food. It is about making the people partakers of the divine presence, making them connected to God. This miracle is the image of the Holy Eucharist, a mystery in which our earthly bread becomes the Body of Christ. The same Jesus Christ becomes multiplied as those 5 loaves of bread to be consumed not by 5 thousand men, but by all the faithful who are willing to receive Him. Christ is not divided; He remains the same. In today’s Epistle Holy Apostle Paul is asking, “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor. 1, 13).  No, dear brothers and sisters, Christ does not divide. Yet in every church, at every Divine Liturgy Christ is being distributed to the partakers of the Holy Communion. Christ cannot be consumed. Yet every time we receive Communion we consume Him. Isn’t that a miracle? And this miracle happens every time we participate in the Liturgy”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Keeping this in mind, let us appreciate our Lord Jesus Christ and His saving gift of the Eucharist He gave us. Let us strive for eternal, spiritual and truly real things instead of temporary, material and passing things of this world. For were our treasure is, our heart will be also”.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease. After the Litany he also offered a special prayer for the deliverance from pestilence.

The choir nicely performed Psalm 33 and a hymn to the Most Holy Theotokos during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector performed the customary blessing of the new honey and of some vegetables. He also made some announcements and explained the meaning of certain Church celebrations of this month. Fr. Igor pointed out that there is some difference between the ecclesiastical understanding and names of the holy days and the names of such feasts as known among the people. For instance, on August 19 we celebrate feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord which is also known as “Yablochnyi Spas” (literally, “the Apple Savior”) because on that day a blessing of apples and other fruits is performed. The Church accepts the people’s customs to bless certain fruits on such feasts but we should be aware of the primary meaning of those holy days.

The Rector also congratulated our young parishioner, Elena Malyshev on her past 7th birthday and proclaimed a Polychronion on her behalf.