Sunday after the Exaltation. Celebration of the Rector’s Name Day

 

On October 4, on the Sunday after the Exaltation, St. George Parish family had a beautiful celebration. In addition to our Sunday, as well as the leave-taking of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebration, we also honored our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov on his past name day (October 2). On such an occasion, by the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Matthew, our church was visited by the ROCOR hierarch, His Eminence, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada.

Upon his arrival, the Archbishop was greeted at the church entrance by our Warden, Olga Russanow and our active parishioner, Olga Vnukova who presented His Eminence with the flowers and the traditional bread. Then, upon entering into the temple, the hierarch was met by the clergy and performed the entering prayers. During the reading of the Hours Archbishop Gabriel vested in the sanctuary.

Following the Hours His Eminence headed the Divine Liturgy. He was co-served by the Rector, as well as by Priest Nenad Flora, the ROCOR cleric, and Protodeacon Igor Panachev, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York. The church was well-attended by our parishioners, as well as the guests of the parish. Many faithful approached the Mystery of Confession and received Holy Communion.

Following the Ambo Prayer the Archbishop preached a homily interpreting the appointed Gospel lesson. His Eminence stressed that it is very important for every Christian to remember about bearing of the cross and following our Lord Jesus Christ. Finishing his homily he greeted the Rector, Fr. Igor Tarasov, as well as Fr. Igor Panachev on their past name day, memory of the Holy faithful Prince Igor of Chernigov and proclaimed a traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) on their behalf.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy our Rector had a speech expressing his gratitude to His Eminence for visiting our parish, for heading of the Divine Liturgy, for the prayers offered to the Lord and for his instructive sermon. Then our Warden, Olga Russanow on behalf of our parishioners congratulated the Rector on the occasion of his past name day.

At the conclusion of the service the Archbishop and the clergy venerated the Cross in the middle of the church and let the faithful approach the Cross and venerate it also. Then the Cross was solemnly taken by the Rector and carried back to the altar thus concluding the celebration of the Exaltation.

Our celebration continued on the church grounds where our wonderful cooks prepared a festal luncheon. Archbishop Gabriel, the clergy, as well as our parishioners and guests enjoyed delicious meals, a nice company and beautiful sunny weather. His Eminence raised a toast on behalf of the Fathers celebrating their name day.

 

Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross

 

On Sunday, September 27, our Parish family held celebration of the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov headed the service in our temple. He was co-served by the ROCOR cleric, Priest Nenad Flora.

Before the reading of the Hours the clergy and altar servers performed a procession with the Holy Cross. They proceeded from the sanctuary to the middle of the church placing the Cross on the stand and then venerated it.

During the Divine Liturgy, after the Gospel lesson, Fr. Igor preached the following homily in English:

“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! My greetings to you on this great Lord’s holy day, feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross!”
“Today we commemorate how three centuries after our Lord was crucified, the Cross of Christ was discovered by the pious Christian people and following the order of the Holy Empress Helen. After being found on the Calvary in Jerusalem the Cross was exalted, elevated before the multitude of people by Archbishop Macarius. He exalted the Cross and blessed the people and the multitudes many times exclaimed the petition, “Lord, have mercy!” Today’s feast was established to remember that event and to honor the Holy Cross.”
“Today we also celebrate the Holy Cross as the main symbol of Christianity, the main emblem of our Christian faith, as well as the sacred and precious relic of the whole our existence. Many laudable and praising words were said and written about the Precious and Life-giving Cross. Our festal service today contains a lot of beautiful expressions about it. And we ourselves today honor the Cross by bowing our heads and bending our knees, by prostrating ourselves before it and by kissing that holy sign of our salvation.”
“Let us now reflect upon the mystery of the Holy Cross. It is a mystery because apart from being venerated, the Cross is very often may not be understood. Many people do not grasp the concept of God being crucified, killed. This is why Holy Apostle Paul wrote that “the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Cor. 1, 18). Such people may ask why God who is Almighty, who is able to do anything, had to humiliate Himself by death on the cross? That is a mystery of the Cross. Our Lord Jesus Christ really humbled Himself by becoming Man. He condescended to our nature the moment He was conceived in the womb of His Blessed Mother. Then He only continued that humbling Himself through all His earthly life that was finished when He died on the cross for our salvation. To many people it is incomprehensible, but for us, Christians, it is the truth of our salvation. As St. Paul says, we preach Christ crucified… the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1, 23-24).”
“To reveal that mystery we may say that the Cross of Christ was a sign of how mankind was far from God. The Son of God came to the humanity to accomplish good works, to teach, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to show the true way of salvation. But the humanity condemned Him to death and crucified Him. It happened because every time when God’s law of love takes over, it puts an end to human pride, to human self-exaltation, to human selfishness. Christ was God’s Love incarnate. And that Love revealed and chastised human falsehood, and that falsehood began to retaliate. Thus many people condemned Christ. They showed how far from God men could be.”
“On the other hand, the mystery of the Cross, as we realize, shows us the great love of God towards mankind. As some people think of the Cross as of “foolishness” or “insanity”, we may say that God “insanely” loves us. He loves us despite our sins, our shortcomings, our transgressions and our being evil. God wishes to free us from sin, from our evil state. The world does not recognize love towards the enemy, but God does. Every sinner becomes God’s enemy but God still loves him. And God proved that love on the cross.”
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us come and worship Christ the Crucified, our God who loved the world, so he offered Himself for us on the Precious Tree of the Cross. Let us admire and understand the mystery of the Cross, the mystery of God’s infinite love towards us, the sinners. Let us respond to that love by our own love, by our repentance of sins and by our strife for piety and life with Christ. Let us avoid exaltation of our proud and selfish nature but let us exalt the Precious Cross of Christ in our lives – today and always!”

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

The choir prayerfully performed hymns of the Exaltation of the Cross before Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the clergy and the altar servers performed glorification of the feast and veneration of the Cross in the middle of the church. Then Fr. Igor preached a short sermon in Russian and made some announcements.

Celebration of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God at St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York

 

On Monday, September 21, on the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov headed the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York. He was co-served by the cathedral clergy: Priest Rodion Shamazov, Priest Yulian Riabtsev, Protodeacon Igor Panachev and Deacon John Peters.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy Fr. Igor preached a homily about the celebrated holy day.

Sunday before the Exaltation. Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God

 

On September 20, on the Sunday before the Exaltation, 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. A ROCOR cleric, Priest Nenad Flora was present praying in the temple and receiving Holy Communion in the sanctuary. After the Gospel lesson Fr. Igor preached the following homily in English:

“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate Sunday before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and we also observe feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. A week ago we also started the New Church Year since the liturgical year begins on September 1st, the day on which, according to the pious tradition, God began the creation of the world”.
“The first today’s Gospel reading reminds us again that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3, 16).  Thus God did not just create the world but loved the world and loved the human race He created. In the spiritual sense, the whole history of the world is the history of God’s love and care for us. One of the pages of that history is today’s observed Birth of the Most Holy Theotokos. It is celebrated on the 8th day of the first month of the Church calendar. It looks like eight days after we celebrated the New Year of the Church, we are now celebrating a new beginning for the whole universe, the Birth of the Mother of our Savior”.
“We may ask whether those 8 days have a meaning. They probably do because eight is the number of eternity, eight takes us out of time, out of the repetitive cycle of the seven days of the week, into eternity. God created the world in 6 days, then He rested on the 7th day. And the 8th day is the world to come. It is “life everlasting” which God prepared for us through His only begotten Son. With the birth of the Mother of God, there is a hope that eternity will enter into time. Eternal God will enter into human history. The Uncreated will penetrate into the created. This will be a mystery beyond understanding”.
“However, certain things about that mystery and about the event of the Nativity of the Mother of God we are able to understand. We should understand that Holy Virgin was born in a natural way, but not out of simple lust, but out of the pure wish to give birth to and bring up a child devoted to God. Her father, Joachim, was of the line of David, king and prophet; her mother, Anna, was of the line of Aaron the priest. Their daughter will come to give birth to the Almighty and unique King of kings, Prophet of prophets and Priest of priests, to Christ himself. This is why those holy parents, Joachim and Anna are examples for all who wish to have children. They are examples to all parents, teaching us how to bring up children in piety”.
“We may recall how the Church praises today’s feast singing, “Today the barrenness of our nature has been loosed”. We were barren because until Christ was born through the Virgin, we were condemned to sin, passion and death. And even today those who reject the message of Christ still remain barren and condemned to those evil things. But if we have heard the voice of Christ in our souls, then we are no longer barren. We are fruitful, spiritually fruitful. There is no requirement for all of us to be married and have children. But in any moment of our lives we have to be spiritually sane and active and bear spiritual fruit. We have to listen to the voice of Christ and follow Him. If we do so, then the fruits of our behavior, of our lifestyle will be appropriate”.
“Holy parents Joachim and Anna worked together with God’s Providence. This was the cause of their joy. If we can do the same, it will be the beginning of our joy too. We too can free ourselves of the barrenness of our sinful nature, if we stop thinking about our material well-being and start thinking about our spiritual well-being. Then we too will give birth to spiritual fruit like holy grandparents of God Joachim and Anna”.
“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters! During Christmas time when we celebrate the Nativity of Christ, we say “God with us”. Preparing to honor His Precious Cross we may also remember that God is with us, God the Son who died for us on the cross. And today, on the birthday of the Theotokos, we may say, “Holy Mother of God is with us”. She may help us to follow Her Son and intercede for us before Him. Holy Mother is now with us. Let us rejoice!”

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. Then the Rector preached a brief sermon in Russian addressing the ideas of his English homily and made some announcements.

Blessing of the New Dome of St. Michael’s Church in Wayne, NJ

 

On Saturday, September 19, on the day of commemoration of the miracle of St. Michael the Archangel, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov attended the Prayer service with the blessing of the newly-erected dome along with the cupola cross at the construction site for St. Michael’s Parish in Wayne, NJ. This is a ROCOR parish formerly located in Paterson, NJ.

At this point St. Michael’s parish has moved to Wayne, NJ where a new temple is being built. The construction is now substantially accomplished and building of the dome is finished. Therefore, on that day linked to the devotion to St. Michael, the newly erected cupola had to be blessed.

The Prayer service was performed in front of the miraculous Kursk Root Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God brought there for such an occasion. It was headed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. He was co-served by His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Archpriest George Zelenin, Rector of St. Michael’s Church and Deacon Andrew Logvinenko, cleric of the parish. Archpriest Igor Tarasov was present and prayed during the service. At the end Bishop Nicholas and Fr. George boarded a construction lift in which they were raised to the height of the dome and blessed it with holy water. Other clergy and faithful were excited to observe that blessing performed in the air.

Following the blessing the bishops and guests of the parish had an opportunity to see the new temple being built. Then they were invited to a picnic held on the neighboring Catholic church’s grounds where they enjoyed some delicious meals and a nice company.

The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad Highly Appreciated the Book written by Archpriest Igor Tarasov

 

On September 9, 2020, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad wrote a letter to Archpriest Igor Tarasov regarding the book written by our Rector.

In his letter Metropolitan Hilarion informed that he finished reading the book titled “The Talks on the Nicene Creed” which was recently presented to him by Fr. Igor. The First Hierarch believes that the book is “terrific, wonderful and very easy to read”, a reader of which acquires a lot of important information regarding our Orthodox Christian faith. His Eminence further says that the author magnificently uses the facts and examples to illustrate his thoughts, and answers a number of questions the people may ask about the Church life. He believes that the book is very useful for the pastors who may find many explanations and advises regarding Sacred Scripture and Church traditions.

In the conclusion of his letter, Metropolitan Hilarion expressed his gratitude for the instruction and for a joy of learning the mysteries of the Church faith contained in Fr. Igor’s book.

We hope that the book published by Archpriest Igor Tarasov will spread among our clergy and faithful and will be more and more useful in their learning about our Christian faith.

14th Sunday after Pentecost

 

On September 13, on the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Placing of the Precious Cincture of the Most Holy Mother of God, we had a beautiful celebration in our parish. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. A ROCOR cleric, Priest Nenad Flora was present praying in the temple and receiving Holy Communion in the sanctuary. After the Gospel lesson the Rector preached the following homily:

“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters! On this Sunday again we hear a parable told by our Lord Jesus Christ to His opponents. In a similar way, it is a parable about the Kingdom of heaven. Last Sunday Jesus compared God to a landowner who planted a vineyard, and the people to the vinedressers or tenants. Today’s story compares God to a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son. Let us look closely unto that parable”.
“God desired to invite man to His heavenly Kingdom, to return him to paradise. For that reason God sent His Only-begotten Son to redeem the human race. His Son is a Bridegroom who is going to unite in a mystical way with humanity, with His Bride, the Church”.
“At first, the wedding banquet of God’s Son was prepared for the chosen people, for the Jews. Today’s Gospel lesson says that the king sent his servants to call “those who were invited to the wedding” (Mt. 22, 3). The servants here are the Prophets whom God was sending to His people. But those who were invited, as we hear in today’s Gospel, disregarded the invitation or even mistreated the king’s servants (Mt. 22, 5-6). Same was done by the Jews to God’s Prophets. Then the king commands his servants to go to the highways and invite totally different people to the wedding (Mt. 22, 8). In this way the Holy Gospel proclaims the transfer of the Kingdom of God from Jews to Gentiles. If the Jews, the chosen people, the people who were invited to God’s joyful feast, became unworthy of that generous invitation, other nations should fill the banquet hall of the King’s celebration”.
“Through holy Sacraments of Baptism and Chrismation we are brought into union with Christ. Through those holy Mysteries we are brought into marriage with the Lord, the mystical marriage of the Church with her heavenly Bridegroom, the Christ. However, being invited, even for us, does not mean an automatic stay in the wedding hall. Today’s Gospel tells us about a man who came to the marriage banquet without a proper wedding garment. He was cast out of the hall (Mt. 22, 11-13). The wedding garment, dear brethren, is the grace of God which has to be put on. For as many of us were baptized into Christ, have put in Christ (Gal. 3, 27). In the times of Jesus, a special wedding garment was given for each guest at the wedding. The host provided such garments for the guests. This is why, it was strange to see a guest who did not have a wedding garment put on. In today’s parable the king saw a man without it and asked how could he enter without a proper dress. The guest was speechless (Mt. 22, 12). In the same way, many people who became baptized lose or refuse to put on the garment of divine grace, the garment of pure and pious life. They avoid spiritual life, they refuse to attend the church, they decline reception of the Sacraments. All these things, like a wedding garment, are provided by God for us. But many of us refuse to take it. And when the Lord comes and demands an answer, we become speechless. We have nothing to say”.
“This is the spiritual understanding of what it means to put on the proper dress for the wedding banquet; it is the most important one. But there may be a literal sense of those words about the wedding garment, about the proper dress. That sense concerns the way how we dress when we come to the temple. Of course, our pure heart and our enlightened soul is the most important. However, the way we dress our body should also be considered. Some of us come to the church dressed like for a work in the garden, dressed rather casually or inappropriately. Such attitude should be avoided because it is a sign of disrespect towards the Church, towards the community and also towards the Lord Jesus. Some pastors would not care and even preach that it is not important how you are dressed for the church services, as long as you come and as long as you have a pure heart. But that’s not the way we should think. Everything is important when you go to the church – our pure heart, as well as our neat and proper clothes”.
“Dear Father, dear brother and sisters! Hearing the parable about a wedding feast, let us be worthy of God’s invitation. Let us come joyfully to the Lord, let us attend His holy wedding. For us, every Divine Liturgy is such a wedding banquet. Let us not miss it. Let us avoid the attitude of those who declined the king’s invitation. And let us not forget to be appropriately dressed for this important occasion. Our appropriate dress, our wedding garment is our pure soul, a heart cleansed of all impurity in the holy Sacrament of confession. It is also our dress in a literal sense, our appropriate appearance in the temple. Let us not become speechless and then cast out into the outer darkness, but come into joy of our Lord and feast with Him in the everlasting joy of His Heavenly Kingdom!”

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 prayerfully performed hymns dedicated to the Most Holy Mother of God during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian conveying the ideas of his English sermon. He also mentioned the feast of the Placing of the Precious Cincture of the Most Holy Mother of God we celebrated. Fr. Igor pointed out that the cincture, the belt of the Most Holy Theotokos was a part of Her garments. It is venerated as a relic. Thus today speaking of the proper garment mentioned in the Gospel lesson we should note that the Mother of God dressed appropriately; Her holy life was also manifested in Her proper dress, so Her clothes are revered today. Thus, understanding the concept of the wedding garment from the Gospel parable in a spiritual way (as the divine grace clothing our soul) we should also remember to dress appropriately for the church services.

At the conclusion of his speech the Rector greeted Moses Dunetz and Alexander Yakovlev on their past name days dividing the Theotokian prosphora among them and proclaiming the traditional Polychronion on their behalf.

Patronal Feast at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ

 

On Saturday, September 12, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov attended celebration of the Patronal feast at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ. This is one of the largest ROCOR temples in the United States.

A beautiful liturgical celebration was held in that parish on that festal day of the memory of the Faithful Prince Alexander Nevsky. The service was headed by His Grace, Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan. He was co-served by many Orthodox clerics including Fr. Igor Tarasov. That celebration consisted of the Divine Liturgy and a Prayer service performed along with the procession around the temple.

Following the liturgical service the celebration continued in the parish refectory where a festal luncheon was served. Our Rector had an opportunity to interact with Bishop Nicholas and with the clergy and presenting some of them with the copies of his books of talks on the Nicene Creed and on the Church History. Fr. Igor also visited the cathedral store where he purchased some liturgical vessels to be used in our parish.

Epistle of Bishop Matthew on the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA

Beloved in Christ, dear fathers, brothers & sisters!

 I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you on this significant date – the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States of America and Canada.
Exactly 50 years ago, in 1970, special canonical subdivisions of the Russian Orthodox Church were formed, uniting the Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States of America, Canada and Mexico, which are under canonical jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate under the omophorion of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’.
Commemorating this anniversary and reflecting on the past, we must thank the Lord for all of His many and ineffable blessings bestowed on the clergy and faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church on the North American continent.
Today, we prayerfully remember the 42nd anniversary of the blessed repose of Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov), the first Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and Canada. The life of the Patriarchal Parishes is inspired by the archpastoral instruction and personal example of this outstanding hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who stood at the origins of new ecclesiastical life in North America. The apostolic word of Metropolitan Nikodim was addressed to everyone who sought the truth, regardless of nationality, social status or religious views. Through the efforts of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Nikodim, Orthodox brotherhoods and sisterhoods were opened in North America, parish schools were established, and new clergy were ordained. Many of the clergy, ordained by Vladyka Nikodim were Americans who converted to Orthodoxy, and later led generations of English-speaking parishioners to Christ.
For many years, the ecclesiastical and administrative center of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States has been and remains Saint Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City, which was given the status of the Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate to the Autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. Saint Nicholas Cathedral, a symbol of the presence of Russian Orthodoxy in America, was built under the leadership of the future Hieromartyr Protopresbyter Alexander Hotovitsky and was consecrated in 1902 by Bishop Tikhon (Belavin) of North America who would later become the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. An example of the legacy of Saint Tikhon and his archpastoral labors is the Cathedral of Holy Great Martyr Barbara in the city of Edmonton, the province of Alberta, which remains the center of the spiritual and educational mission in Canada.
The Patriarchal Parishes in North America serve not only as a place of worship, but also carry out a large missionary and social ministry, uniting a large multicultural flock. Closely related to the activities of the Patriarchal Parishes is the work of the Representation of the World Russian People’s Council to the United Nations, which has been successfully carried out for many years.
We give thanks to the Lord and giver of all blessings for His mercies shown to us. With love and gratitude, we prayerfully honor the memory of all who have labored for Holy Orthodoxy in the countries of North America: hierarchs, clergy of all ranks, members of parish committees and councils, choir directors and chanters, Sunday school teachers, members of brotherhoods and sisterhoods.
Today, celebrating the 50th anniversary in the difficult conditions of modern life and the trials facing all of mankind, following the example of our devout and pious predecessors, let us be courageous and strong so that in accordance with the words of the apostles, we may have common joy to praise God and be in favor among all the people, so that the Lord may add daily those to the Church who are being saved. (Acts 2:47).
May God’s blessings be with all of you through the intercession of Saint Tikhon and all the saints who have shown forth in the lands of America & Canada.

 + MATTHEW
Bishop of Sourozh
Interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA & Canada

 September 4, 2020

13th Sunday after Pentecost

 

On September 6, on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. Our service was attended by our former parishioner, a newly ordained ROCOR cleric, Priest Nenad Flora who was praying in the temple and singing along with the choir. After the reading from the Holy Gospel Fr. Igor preached the following homily:

”Today’s Gospel reading tells us a parable about evil tenants of the vineyard. This parable was told by our Lord Jesus Christ a few days before His suffering and death, in the beginning of the time we call the Holy Week. The story was addressed to the leaders of the Jewish people, to those who did not accept Jesus as their Messiah and who wished to destroy Him. We may have different ideas flowing from this parable, but let us simply see what our Lord wanted to say to His opponents”.
“The landowner in the parable is God the Father. He planted a vineyard which is Israel, the holy nation of God, the Church of the Old Testament. The tenant vinedressers are the leaders entrusted with the care of God’s people. According to the parable they did not wish to give the owner His share of grapes. God sent His servants to them. Those landowner’s servants are the Prophets, sent by God in the times of the Old Testament to proclaim His word. The tenants beat and killed the servants. The Jewish leaders persecuted the Prophets and really killed some of them. Since those God’s servants were mistreated and not listened, God sent His onlybegotten Son. The leaders might honor the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. But in their envy and impiety they murdered the Son as well. Our Lord Jesus Christ was cast out of the holy city of Jerusalem and crucified, just as the landowner’s son in the parable was cast out of the vineyard and killed”.
“At the end of His story Jesus is asking the listeners: “When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?” (Mt. 21, 40). The answer was that he will punish those wicked people and lend the vineyard to other vinedressers who will render him the fruits in their seasons. Leaders of the Jews were punished. Very soon Jerusalem was taken by the Romans and the Temple destroyed. The Jews had to scatter everywhere in the world. But it is not so important how God punished them; it is His right and privilege. What is important for us is to be the new and worthy tenants of God’s vineyard”.
“Now the Church of the New Testament is God’s vineyard. The new tenants are the people rendering the fruits in their seasons, the new people of God. We are called to be those people. After the parable Jesus said to the Jews: “Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to the nation bearing the fruits of it.” (Mt. 21, 43).  That sentence is not included in today’s reading, but it follows in the Gospel right after. The Kingdom of God is now given to us. But we must bear the fruits of the Kingdom and to render the fruits in their seasons”.
“What fruits we are talking about? There are lots of them. As laborers in the vineyard of the Lord we are called to honor God, to serve Him, to love our neighbors, to worship God in a right way, to keep the Commandments, to be obedient to the Church. All our deeds and choices are the fruits we render to the true Owner and Master of the world. What kind of fruits do we render?”
“Today we are called to offer our special prayers for the environment, for God’s creation. This planet can also be compared to a vineyard that God the Creator entrusted to our care. When the Lord created the world, created man, He placed man over all the animals and plants, made him the king of this earthly world. And we have to cultivate that world, to cherish the creation. That would also be the rendering of the fruits in their seasons. We have to be good tenants of that vineyard who preserve it for ourselves and for our heirs.”
“Let us bring forth good and best fruits of our piety, love and virtue. And let us beware of the attitude of the evil tenants which is now overspread in the world. Many people now forgot about God, His Commandments and about true worship of Him. They ignore the servants of God whom He sends to remind them of their duties. They would be capable of murdering His Son again if He came to tell them the truth. Therefore, let us spend our life watchfully to be good tenants in the Lord’s vineyard”.

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 nicely performed Psalm 33 and a prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector made some announcements and offered a prayer for the schoolchildren who begin their new school year. He blessed our children and wished them a successful study and acquiring of knowledge.