On September 5, on the 11th Sunday after Pentecost St. George Parish family had a beautiful celebration at our temple. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Our temple was visited by Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk), a ROCOR cleric who prayed in the sanctuary and received Holy Communion. After the Gospel lesson our Rector preached the following homily:
“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! We are very happy to gather again in our church. Last week our area was hit by the flood. Thank God that our church was spared although we are actually in the basement. Some other churches were flooded but thanks to the Lord and to St. George we did not suffer”.
“Today is the 11th Sunday after Pentecost and today we finish the celebration of the feast of the Dormition. We have the final day, the leave-taking of the feast. Our Gospel lesson for today is telling us a story, a parable about a merciful king and an unmerciful lender (Mt. 18, 23-35). It is supposed to teach us to forgive. Let us interpret that parable to understand it better”.
“The king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants is God. He is our Master and Benefactor, and we are His servants and we owe Him a lot. But God is merciful and forgiving. His mercy is unlimited. That unlimited mercy and forgiveness of God is illustrated by today’s parable. The king forgives the debt of his servant, so God forgives a multitude of our sins. Thus, a debt to the king described in today’s parable is a sin against God. We are in debt to God because we commit sins. This debt originates with our neglect of God’s will”.
“Ten thousand talents the servant owed to the king is an impossible sum. It was more than a laborer could earn during his all lifetime! Thinking of that we may see that we owe God all our life. It is a gift from God. But this life of ours is full of sins and mistakes. It could be impossible to pay this debt off. But God is merciful as the king in this parable. A hundred denarii is contrasted to the 10,000 talents. It was equivalent to about a hundred days’ wages. Thinking of that we may understand that our fellow men are usually owing us much less than we owe God”.
“Just as the king in the parable showed mercy toward his servant who fell down before him and asked to have patience with him (Mt. 18, 26), so does God show love toward us if we ask for forgiveness, if we repent. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, we need to fall before God asking Him to be patient with us, we need to ask for His mercy. The best way is to show not only humility and sorrow, but true repentance – a desire to make things better, a desire to change for better. We need to practice receiving the Mystery of Confession. True confession provides that no matter how great and terrible our sins are, if we sincerely repent, we receive forgiveness, our sins are absolved. Our debt is written off”.
“And on the other hand, just as the king showed strictness toward the servant when he found out that the servant himself had no compassion, so does God shows strictness toward us if we do not repent our own sins or do not forgive others for their trespasses against us. Our Lord Jesus Christ concludes today’s parable saying, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Mt. 18, 35)”.
“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters! Today’s Gospel parable teaches us that because God forgives us, we in return are obliged to grant this gift of forgiveness to others. When each Christian forgives from his heart, true reconciliation and healing come to the Church by God’s grace. Therefore, let us ask God to forgive our debts to Him which are great, and let us forgive others their debts to us which are certainly not so great. Let us grow in love and forgiveness, so the Lord will bestow His mercy and compassion on us”.
Since on the first Sunday of September the Russian Church holds a special day of prayer for the preservation of God’s creation, during the Litany of fervent supplication the Rector offered special petitions for that cause, as well s special prayer after that Litany.
The choir was prayerfully singing the hymns of the Dormition which leave-taking was celebrated.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector and the altar servers performed the glorification of the Dormition in the middle of the church. Then Fr. Igor greeted Abbot Eutychius on his coming name day and presented him the Theotokian prosphora. The traditional Polychronion was proclaimed on behalf of our guest.
Following that the Rector performed the blessing of the students who begin the school year.