Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas

On Sunday, January 7, our St. George parish celebrated great holy day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as Christmas.
The Divine Liturgy in our temple was served by the parish priest, Abbot Eutychius (Dovgan). Following the Gospel lesson he preached a short homily in Russian.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy Fr. Eutychius greeted the faithful on the great feast and handed Christmas presents to the children.
Following the service a sumptuous luncheon was served, so everybody could enjoy delicious meals and a nice company.

Patronal Feast at St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York

On Tuesday, December 19, on the day of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, our parish priest, Abbot Eutychius (Dovgan) attended celebration of the Patronal feast at the Patriarchal Cathedral in New York. Some our parishioners, including our Warden, Olga Russanow, joined him there.

Solemn Divine Liturgy was headed by the Cathedral Rector, Archpriest Igor Vyzhanov who was co-served by Fr. Eutychius and other clergy.

Following the service a festal luncheon was held in the Cathedral hall.

28th Sunday after Pentecost

On December 17, on the 28th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Holy Great Martyr Barbara, our parish priest Abbot Eutychius (Dovgan) served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.

The choir director, Olga Roussanow nicely performed proper hymns during preparation for Holy Communion and read the homily prepared by our former Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov on the appointed Gospel lesson.

At the end of the Liturgy Fr. Eutychius preached a short sermon in Russian. He also greeted our Sacristan, Andrew Malyshev on his past name day and proclaimed a Polychronion to him.

27th Sunday after Pentecost. Patronal Feast at the Synodal Cathedral in New York

On December 10th Russian Orthodox Church honors the icon of Our Lady of the Sign, also known as the Kursk Root Icon. This is the patronal feast of the ROCOR Synodal Cathedral in New York. This year marks the 65th anniversary of that holy image being held in that temple. On that day, on the 27th Sunday after Pentecost, our parish priest, Father Eutychius blessed St. George parishioners to join him in celebration of that patronal feast.

Fr. Eutychius prayed at the All-Night Vigil at the cathedral on Saturday, December 9. Then, on Sunday, he attended celebration of the festal Divine Liturgy. Our Warden, Olga Roussanow was also present and prayed at the Liturgy in the temple. Some other parishioners came also, and Maria Malyshev volunteered to help in the kitchen.

Officiating all the services was Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, co-served by many bishops and clergy from the ROCOR, Moscow Patriarchate, Serbian Church and the OCA.

Upon conclusion of the Liturgy, the hierarchs and clergy served a short moleben before the Kursk Root Icon.

After the services on Sunday a festal banquet was held in the cathedral hall.

26th Sunday after Pentecost

On December 3, on the 26th Sunday after Pentecost St. George parish family gathered for a liturgical celebration. Our services were headed by the newly-assigned parish priest, Father Eutychius (Dovgan). After the dismissal of Divine Liturgy he preached a short sermon and made some announcements. He also blessed our cantor, Olga Roussanow, to read the following homily prepared by our former Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today’s Epistle lesson of St. Paul to the Ephesians has many beautiful thoughts and instructions for us. Every phrase, every sentence of today’s reading is precious. But the main idea of St. Paul’s message was to remind his spiritual children that they have to spend their life wisely, doing things which are really important and necessary for salvation. The main thought is to tell us that we have a precious gift of time, and our time must be filled with rather spiritual, not worldly preoccupation. St. Paul calls it “to walk as children of light” (Eph. 5, 8). What a nice expression! We say that Jesus Christ is our Light, so we are His children, “children of Light”. Our journey of this life has to be “walking as children of light”. St. Paul shows the contrast between light and darkness, day and night. For him life without remembering of God, without faith in Jesus Christ was like walking in the darkness. And, on the contrary, since Christ is our Light, living with Him is walking in the light. But in order to walk in the light, as St. Paul tells us, we have to find out “what is acceptable to the Lord” (Eph. 5, 10). It means that we have to learn what is right and what is wrong, what is good and evil, eternal or temporary. It is about choosing what is best for us. And it is about establishing the priorities”.
“Today’s Epistle lesson becomes especially useful if we remember that we are in the beginning of the Nativity Fast, if we recall that we should be preparing ourselves for Christmas. Here we are confronted with many visible features of this world, the world which often lives without remembering of God. All those commercials, advertisements dedicated to Christmas, all that rush with buying presents, going shopping and preparing for the holiday season, – all of that very rarely reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. This kind of preparation may not be wrong by itself, but it is not going to get us far in our spiritual life. We have to remember about priorities. And the priority is to prepare for the Nativity by spiritual works, by prayer, fasting, and repentance. This is why the Church established this period called St. Philip’s Fast to help us in that preparation. This is the right time “to walk as children of light” and to walk carefully, as St. Paul instructs us, saying,
“Walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 15-17). I think that this is an excellent instruction!”
“I once had a conversation with a woman, a parishioner of mine who had certain disability and was not able to attend the church. I asked her whether she wants me to visit her during the Nativity Fast, so she could receive the Sacraments before Christmas. The woman answered that she is too busy preparing for the holidays. She said that she has to prepare the
pirohy for Christmas Eve supper. The time the conversation occurred was three weeks before Christmas. Three weeks before the holy day, and this woman is saying that she has to spend most of her time making pirohy! Is Christmas about the pirohy or any other food? Was Christ born and came to this world, so we can make pirohy? Is it all He wants from us: the Christmas tree, decorations, lights, presents? Or maybe we should distinguish what is really important, necessary, and what is of the less importance. Having a traditional Christmas Eve supper with all those twelve meals is very nice. It is great, but it is much less important than having a pure heart, clean soul and joyful spirit. And Christmas shopping, certainly, is much less important than spending your time in prayer, in spiritual expectation of our Lord coming to us, in repentance for our sins, in going to confession. Believe me, staying and waiting in the line for confession is much more helpful and fruitful than spending your time in the line at the shopping center!”
“Going to confession before Christmas is spiritually fruitful. And St. Paul mentions today the word “unfruitful”. He urges us to
“have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Eph. 5, 11). Time is precious, and we have to spend it fruitfully. Many worries, cares and preoccupations of this world are, in fact, unfruitful. And especially fruitless are the works of sin and dark desires of our corrupted nature. Why should we waste our time having fellowship with them?”
“Dear brothers and sisters! The message of today’s Epistle lesson is in the words of St. Paul who calls us,
“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph. 5, 14). When we care about less important things, when we spend our time doing less important tasks, we are in the spiritual darkness, we are spiritually asleep, even dead. Let us awake, especially now, during this blessed time of Fast, let us walk in the light, let us walk “circumspectly”, not as fools, let us understand what the Lord’s will is for us. His will is that we remember that there is God who cares, who loves and who gave His only Son for us. This Son of God we should be expecting now, when we prepare for the holy days. This Son of God we should be expecting any day of our life. Thus, let us be awake and expecting!”

After the service parishioners offered the new priest a cup of coffee and some snack.


Our Parishioners’ Address to Fr. Igor Tarasov on his Departure from St. George

November 26, 2023

Your Very Reverence, Father Igor!

We are very saddened to learn that you are leaving our church
after more than a decade of service and religious care.
You were more than a priest to us, performing uninterrupted
church services and activities.  You were a trusted person to
whom we could turn for counsel and spiritual help.
In memory of this church and your parishioners, please accept
this icon of the Holy Great Martyr George the Victorious, from us as a
memento and our gratitude for all your efforts.

God bless you and we wish you many years to come!

Parishioners of the Church of
the Holy Great Martyr George the Victorious,
Bayside, New York

26 ноября 2023 г.

Ваше Высокопреподобие, отец Игорь!

Мы очень опечалены известием о том,  что Вы покидаете
наш храм после более, чем десяти лет служения и
религизного окормления.
Вы были для нас больше чем священником, совершающим
непрерывные церковные службы и деятельность. Вы были
доверенным лицом, к которому мы могли обратиться за
советом и получить духовную помощь.
В память об этом храме и ваших прихожан примите от нас
на память эту икону Святого муч. Георгия Победоносца и
нашу благодарность за все Ваши труды.

Храни Вас Господь и Многая Вам Лета!

Прихожане храма св. великомученика Георгия Победоносца,
Бейсайд, Нью-Йорк

25th Sunday after Pentecost

On November 26, on the 25th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of St. John Chrysostom, our Parish family had a beautiful celebration. Our long-time pastor, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy for the last time as the Rector of St. George. After the readings from the Sacred Scripture he addressed faithful with the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! The message of today’s St. Paul’s Epistle lesson is about unity. St. Paul is writing to the Ephesians that they should live “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4, 3). He explains this unity saying that “there is one body and one Spirit… one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father for all” (Eph. 4, 4-6). So, today we will reflect on the unity. It is very important to be united. Perhaps every nation has proverbs, sayings or parables about the importance of unity. If a nation is united, it can overcome any powerful enemy. If a family is united, it can survive any crisis. Unity is an indispensable condition for a group of people to achieve success”.
However, if we look at the way we, people, live and relate to each other, we may realize that unity is very desirable, but not often an existing thing. People are divided in many ways. They are conservative or liberal, Republicans and Democrats, pro-life and pro-choice, Christians and Jews, believers and atheists. To make the issue trivial, let us recall that we have different taste: “I like potato, you like tomato” and so on. People have differences. We are different in many ways. And in many instances it is totally appropriate to be different, to hold a distinct opinion or to like what somebody else does not like. God created us to be different, to be individual persons. But in some cases people need to be united. In some instances differences become very dangerous, if not fatal. If a boat is sinking, everyone should work together in order to be saved, cooperate with the captain and not express the differences. In such a situation differences in opinion as to what should be done may cost people lives”.
This is the case when people are bound together in striving to achieve the goal of eternal salvation. Such a group of people is a community of believers called the Church. The Church has to be one, all members should be united by one goal, one way of life, one spirit. Although we are many different persons with many different thoughts, opinions and preferences, we have to share one nature in Christ. As St. Paul believes, this is a new nature uniting Christian community, so it has “one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4, 4-6). We have one God in whom we believe, one and only Savior, Jesus Christ whom St. Paul calls “one Lord”. In Baptism we all become able to partake of the same nature. We also become the followers of one teaching, and as St. Paul put it, “called in one hope” (Eph. 4, 4). These are the things in which we may not have differences. These are the points about which we may not argue. It would be improper or dangerous to argue about that. Therefore, St. Paul warned his spiritual children that they have to preserve unity in faith”.
Speaking of these signs of unity St. Paul reveals us a mysterious reality of life of the Holy Trinity in the Church. He tells us about one God, one Lord and one Spirit, the Three divine Persons of the Trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He also combines one Baptism and the three virtues of faith, hope and love into one great reality. Each Person of the Trinity sanctifies us, but the sanctification is one, because our Baptism is one, and the grace of that Sacrament is one”.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, we need to preserve the unity of faith. We cannot divide the body of Christ, the Church. We cannot separate ourselves from it. But there may be a question how this unity should appear. St. Paul describes it very briefly is “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4, 3). Should it be then a uniform group of people with the same views, customs and habits? Or, on the contrary, should it be a unity in diversity where each person or each particular group has certain distinctive features? Should it be a “melting pot” or a beautiful mosaic? This country, the United States, was first tending to be a melting pot for the nationalities joining here together, but later it began to consider itself rather a beautiful mosaic consisting of different ethnic and religious groups with their different customs, cultures and traditions. This kind of unity gives strength to this nation”.
Same kind of unity should be preserved in the Church of Christ. Resembling the mysterious unity of the Three Persons in the Holy Trinity, the Church has different traditions, customs of the different nationalities who all united in the same Universal Church. We have such differences between the Greek and Russian Church. We have also some distinctions between each ethnic Orthodox community, between the Russians, Serbs, Ukrainians, Romanians and so on. But all of us united in the same faith, same Baptism, same hope to achieve salvation. The Church is not a melting pot. It is a unity in diversity”.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not forget one hope of our calling (Eph. 4, 4). Let us keep the unity of one faith, hope and love, the unity in one Spirit, one Lord and one Baptism, in “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all” (Eph. 4, 6).

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, Fr. Igor proclaimed petitions of thanksgiving due to the last week’s celebration of the Thanksgiving Day, as well as his personal desire to thank the Lord for the long-time service at St. George.

During preparation for Holy Communion the choir nicely performed the Psalm 33.

After the Liturgy dismissal Fr. Igor made the announcements. He reminded the parishioners that in two days we begin the Nativity Fast, and advised them that the schedule of services for December is ready.

Fr. Igor also had a speech about his leaving our parish. He expressed his gratitude to the Lord and to our parishioners for the blessed 16 years of ministry at St. George. He mentioned that this tenure was the best in all his priestly service, although our parish is very small, and Fr. Igor’s other parishes were larger and more vibrant. He recalled the Saint celebrated on that day, John Chrysostom, who served in different places, was even persecuted but had always been grateful to God. His motto and his last words were, “Glory to God for everything!” Thus every Christian person should feel grateful to the Lord for everything he or she encounters in life. Thus, Fr. Igor said that he is grateful for everything he experienced during his ministry.

After the leaving Rector’s speech our temple’s Sacristan, Andrew Malyshev proclaimed the address of gratitude to Fr. Igor in English language. Then the address was also read by our Warden, Olga Roussanow, in Russian. As a token of appreciation, our parishioners presented Fr. Igor with a gift, an icon of our parish patron, St. George. A Polychronion was proclaimed to Archpriest Igor Tarasov. Then a group photograph was taken.

Our celebration and interaction continued at the luncheon held to mark past Thanksgiving Day, and in honor of Fr. Igor’s departure. Everybody enjoyed delicious meals, including the Thanksgiving conversation.

24th Sunday after Pentecost


On November 19, on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost, our Parish family gathered for a beautiful celebration. The Divine Liturgy in our temple was served by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. After the readings from the Sacred Scripture he addressed the faithful with the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! In today’s Epistle lesson St. Paul is talking about us, Christian people, as about some kind of building. He says that we are “built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord…” (Eph. 2, 20-21). These words and these beautiful examples St. Paul used to convince the early Christians that all of them, both Jews and Gentiles, all those who converted to Christ, became united in Him as parts of one building. Both circumcised and uncircumcised, became fitted together in one community established by God”.
We should admit that St. Paul is also talking about us. In Christ each one of us becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, because God dwells within us by His grace and because we are united with Him as members of His Body”.
That understanding leads us to another idea that St. Paul conveys in today’s Epistle lesson. He is talking about the spiritual building of the Body of Christ, of the Church. We, as its members, are built on the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, and the cornerstone of the building is Jesus Christ Himself. In Him, says St. Paul, the whole building is fitted together (Eph. 2, 21). Thus, we are parts of the building which is the Church. We are the members of the greater Body which belongs to Jesus Himself. We are also members of God’s household, as St. Paul nicely put it in today’s lesson. He says, “You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the Saints and members of the household of God” (Eph. 2, 19). If you really think about this, you may realize what a great thing it is! Some people dream of being members of a wealthy and influential family, some people wish they were born to rich and noble parents. Here we are, all of us, born to the family of Christ, members of God’s household! What family can be more powerful, what household can be wealthier?! We are the parts of Christ”.
This kind of honor requires a lot of responsibility. That means, we have to be aware of the great role which is given to us. If God wishes to permeate all our life, we must be aware of that and cooperate with His grace in all moments of our existence”.
One Christian preacher said once, “The real test of religion is life. To know whom you worship, let me see you in your shop, let me overhear you in your trade; let me know how you rent your houses, how you get your money, how you keep it, or how you spend… The test of your religion is your weekday life, your works, and not your words.” He was right. We need to practice religion not only by what we do in church, but also by what we do out of church: how we speak, how we earn money, how we treat our family. Of course, the Church is necessary. Here we meet Christ, here we are able to receive Him in the Eucharist. But in another way we meet Him also outside of church in everyone, even in least of our brethren. In the temple we receive Christ, but we need to bring Him out of the temple, into the world to reshape the world according to Christ”.
Dear brothers and sisters! If we are members of God’s household, parts of the Body of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit, let us bring the Triune God to others. Our stay in the holy temple is like staying on Mt. Tabor. But Jesus did not heed the request of Peter to remain on the mountain. He descended into the valley to continue His ministry. Therefore, the purpose of our ascension through prayer and the Liturgy in the temple is that we may be transfigured with Christ and then descend from our “Temple mountain” into the valley of life to transfigure it with His grace and love”.

During preparation for Holy Communion the choir prayerfully performed the Psalm 33.

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector reminded the parishioners about the celebrations during the next week. Particularly, he pointed out that we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving Day which is a secular holiday but it has a great religious meaning. We need to be grateful to God for all his blessings shed upon us in this life.

Then Fr. Igor announced that soon he is going to leave our parish and that he will no longer be our Rector. He will be celebrating his last Liturgy at St. George on the next Sunday, November 26. The parishioners will have the opportunity to say goodbye to Fr. Igor on that day, having a church service and Thanksgiving Luncheon with him.

23rd Sunday after Pentecost


On November 12, on the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, we had a nice celebration at our St. George Church. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov headed the Divine Liturgy. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we began reading the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians. The main theme of this Epistle is to tell about the riches of Christ given in the Church. Thus, in today’s reading we hear the following words: “God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2, 4). It should be noted that if we read the whole chapter, and not just the assigned lesson for today, we would see that these beautiful words are preceded by the word “but”. St. Paul says that the Ephesians once walked according to the course of this world, according to the evil one, conducted themselves in the lusts of flesh; they were by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2, 2-3). “But,” – he says, “God… made us alive” (Eph. 2, 4). “But” is a word which makes a difference”.
We say, “That is a good idea, but…” “He is a good person, but…” Some of us may be unlucky to hear, “You are a good worker, but I have to let you go”. That word may change the whole situation”.
This is true in our reading of the Scripture. Again and again we come upon the expression “But God…” Whatever may have been said before is immediately corrected by these words. Today’s Epistle lesson is an example of that. The Ephesians and the whole human kind was living in sin, was driven by the devil, was following the desires of body and mind. But God who is rich in mercy corrected that and made alive those who were dead through trespasses. We had no way to escape the bondage of the devil, the slavery to sin, and the condemnation of death, but God had such a way for us. We were helpless sinners, says St. Paul in another Epistle, to the Romans. Then he says those two words again: “But God shows His own love toward us, in that we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5, 8). No matter how sinful we are, how unworthy or inferior we consider ourselves, God’s forgiving love can hardly wait to bestow upon us the immeasurable riches of His grace. Yes, we are sinful, but God’s mercy is greater than any sin”.
Let us recall some other examples from the Scripture. The book of Genesis tells us about righteous Joseph, the son of Jacob. He was sold to slavery by his own brothers, then he was brought to Egypt. There he was wrongfully accused and thrown into prison. The Scripture says, “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper” (Gen. 39, 21-23). It seems that everything was against Joseph, but God was with him. Life does terrible things to us. We suffer broken hopes, moral failures, different misfortunes. But God is able to bring good even out of evil to those who love Him and work with Him. Thus, at the end of the story Joseph said to his brothers, You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50, 20)”.
Jesus said to the holy Apostle Peter one day, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail” (Lk. 22, 31). In time of deepest darkness and despair Jesus wanted Peter to know that He cared. He prayed for him to be restored and to become an example of a firm faith to his fellow Apostles”.
And our final example from the Scripture for today: Jesus on the Cross. He died and then He was buried. That was to be the end of the greatest life ever lived. But wait! Here comes another and the greatest “but” ever spoken “But God raised Him from the dead”(Acts 13, 30)”.
The world may press in upon us, but God makes the difference. We are weak, but in Jesus Christ we find strength. We are tempted but in Him we find a way out. We despair, but in Him we find hope. May the Lord God help us to cling to Him!”

The choir director prayerfully performed the Psalm 33 during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy Fr. Igor congratulated our Warden an Choir Director, Olga Roussanow, on the occasion of her past birthday. He wished her God’s help in her life and continuous service to the Holy Church pointing out that thanks to Olga we have proper services in our temple. He also greeted Maria Malyshev on her past birthday wishing her the same – God’s help that the Lord may assist her in her work and family life. Traditional Polychronion was proclaimed to both of them.

At the end, the Rector asked the parishioners to make their contributions for the parish Building and Ground Maintenance Fund. Little Victor Suric, the son of our Treasurer, stood beside Fr. Igor and collected the parishioners’ donations while they were coming to the priest to kiss the cross.