13th Sunday after Pentecost. Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God


On September 19, on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, our parish had a beautiful celebration. In addition we observed feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God transferred to Sunday. The Divine Liturgy in our temple was served by the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. After the readings from the Sacred Scripture he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate the 13th Sunday after Pentecost and joyful feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God”.
“Today’s first Gospel is the parable of the vineyard. We heard that story of the owner who built it and was sending his servants to get the fruits in due time. And we heard how the tenants treated them and how they treated even the owner’s son”.
“It is understood that the vineyard in this parable is Israel. The owner is God. The tenants are the Jews. The servants are those sent by God, the prophets and the just ones who reminded the Jews that Israel was not theirs but God’s. But they beat and stoned and killed first the servants and then the heir, the Son of God. They did so because they wanted the vineyard to belong only to them. And so they ceased to be God’s people”.
“At the end of the parable of the vineyard we hear that the owner will “lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons” (Mt. 21, 41). And if we read the whole chapter of the Gospel, we hear the words of Christ: “Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Mt. 21, 43). These words were not included in our Sunday reading but they confirm the idea of the parable. And that idea is that the vineyard was given to the new vinedressers. They became the New Israel, the Christian Church. And they are expected to render to God the fruits in their seasons, they have to bear the fruit of the Kingdom of God”.
“How then we, the New Israel, the chosen Christian people, ought to render to God the fruits in their seasons? We have to live according to Christian faith. We have to keep the Commandments. And we have to be good children of the Holy Church, observing its pious customs, its feasts, fasts and seasons. There may be a lot of thoughts and examples to illustrate that obligation of ours. But since today we celebrate the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, let us recall how Her holy parents rendered their spiritual fruits to God”.
“Holy tradition holds that Joachim and Anna were advanced in age and they had no children. That was considered a curse, a punishment from God. So they had to endure a reproach from their neighbors and their countrymen. But they were praying and giving alms. Finally, they received a great blessing from God: Anna conceived and gave birth to a holy infant who became the Blessed Mother of the Savior. First the holy parents Joachim and Anna were considered not rendering God their proper fruits in their seasons, because it was expected that a married couple should have children. But God gave them a blessing, a possibility to render the most precious and seasonable fruit, their holy daughter. Thus it was the God’s will that the fruit of their holy marriage was to be rendered later. And we should understand that every person is given his or her time to render to God the fruits of their spiritual endeavors”.
“Speaking of the Most Holy Mother of God Herself, we should also see that She was bearing the most precious fruit of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Onlybegotten Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We pray to Her exclaiming along with St. Elizabeth, “Blessed art Thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb” (Lk. 1, 42). That fruit, the Son of God and the Son of Man was the fruit His Blessed Mother rendered to God”.
“Although the chosen people of the Old Testament had to bear the fruits of the God’s Kingdom, they and the whole humanity were spiritually barren. We all were barren, unable to bear real spiritual fruits because until Christ was born through the Virgin, we were condemned to sin, passion and death. This is why the Church praises today’s feast singing, “Today the barrenness of our nature has been loosed”. And even today those who reject the message of Christ still remain barren and condemned. Some of them are just careless about their souls and preoccupied by the earthly vanities. They may be too overcome by their passions. But some are also hostile and wicked like those evil vinedressers from today’s parable. In such case they ignore the voice of God, they fight the Church and Christian teaching. They replace true moral values with false morality and godless culture. And if they could, if Christ would come to them, they would probably crucify Him again. But they should beware: the Son of God, the Heir of the Owner is coming! And in this time He won’t be willing to be crucified but He will judge the living and the dead. So,“He will miserably destroy those wicked men” as today’s Gospel says (Mt. 21, 41)”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us avoid the attitude of the evil vinedressers, a godless and impious attitude of the wicked. Let us be humble and faithful servants of the Lord and worthy tenants of His vineyard. Let us bring forth good and best fruits of our piety, love and virtue imitating the holy parents of the Theotokos, righteous Joachim and Anna. Let us pray to their Blessed Daughter whose Birthday we are celebrating to save us and to watch over us, so the Kingdom of God will be granted to us forever!”

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.

The choir beautifully performed the hymns of the Nativity of the Theotokos during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar servers performed the rite of glorification in front of the festal icon singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast.

Fr. Igor expressed his condolences to Tamara Hilinski for the loss of her father Anatoli and announced that the burial service for the newly-departed will be held in our temple on Wednesday.

Fr. Igor also greeted Phoebe Ching-Huei Li on her past name day proclaiming the Polychronion on her behalf and handing to her the Theotokian prosphora.