20th Sunday after Pentecost. Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council


On October 22, on the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council, and feast of the Holy Apostle James, son of Alphaeus, our St. George parish held a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! On the 20th Sunday after Pentecost we begin readings from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. A few words should be said about this Epistle. Galatians were the people lived in the region in the middle of Asia Minor called Galatia because a couple of centuries before the Galls were exiled there. St. Paul visited that region and converted a number of people. But when he left some of the Galatians began to question his authority and his teaching. This is why Paul had to write an Epistle to them to defend his apostolic authority and to persuade them that he is conveying the right teaching of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in today’s reading we hear his words: “I make known to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not according to man… but it came through revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1, 11-12). St. Paul tells that the teaching he received and preached to the Galatians is not man’s invention. It was revealed by Jesus Christ”.
Christianity is a revealed religion. It was not invented by any wise man, by any philosopher or a religious leader. It came directly from God. Our beliefs, our morals, our values, our guidelines and principles – all was revealed by God through Jesus Christ”.
Our life is like a traveling in a sea of right and wrong, but God did not leave us without a compass. Any American flight to space could not be accomplished without mission control in Houston. The astronauts were in constant communication with their home base. If they had lost contact, they would have vanished – perhaps forever. If control and guidance are important on a flight to space, how much more important they are for our journey through this life to eternity. Yet the good news is that God has not left us alone on this journey. He has given us guidance. He gave us His Son, Jesus to be our “mission control”. In constant contact with Him, guided and filled with the Holy Spirit, we know the way, we know what the real values of life are”.
Many today’s people and even today’s Christians are confused and disoriented. This is why we see them accepting wrong ideas and wrong values of this world. This happens because they lose the contact with our “mission control”, with our Lord Jesus Christ and are deprived of the grace of God. On the other hand, a true Christian person should feel like being out of step with the values of this world. It is because he marches to the music of a different drummer: the Lord Jesus. He is the One Who reveals to us values that never change, the eternal value of God. As He Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14, 6)”.
A diamond assessor has a difficult job to determine the value of different finished diamonds. He is surrounded by dozens of trays of those precious stones. One day an assessor was asked how can he look all day at hundreds of diamonds without becoming confused. The assessor smiled. “It is very simple,” he replied. Holding out his hand, he pointed to a fabulous diamond ring on his finger. “This diamond is perfect” he said. “It doesn’t have a single flaw. Every half hour or so, I put it under my eyeglasses. The picture of the perfect diamond restores my sense of values!””
What the flawless diamond was to the assessor, the Lord Jesus is to us. By looking constantly at Him and measuring all things in the light of His perfection and His commandments, we keep a sense of what is really important and what is not, what is right and what is wrong, what is eternal and what is temporal, what is expensive and what is cheap, what deserves our allegiance and what does not”.
Today we honor the Holy Fathers of the last, 7th Ecumenical Council. They defined that the Orthodox Christians have to venerate the holy images, the icons. Teachings of the Holy Fathers are the part of that treasure of faith, of what is really important and belongs to eternity”.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Our religion and our way of life are not based on the opinions of great thinkers or leaders. They are based on the will of God revealed to us. God has spoken in Christ. He was the One Who spoke to St. Paul. He is the One Who speaks to us today. Let us listen to Him. Let us obey the voice of God said at the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, “He (Jesus) is My beloved Son, listen to Him!””

During preparation for Holy Communion the choir director prayerfully performed the hymns dedicated to the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Council and the hymns to Holy Apostle James.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector made some announcements.