7th Sunday after Pentecost

On July 22nd, on the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, priest Igor Tarasov, Rector of St. George Church served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.
After the Scripture readings Fr. Igor preached a homily on the lesson from the holy Gospel of the day. He said: “Today’s Gospel is about healings of the blind men and of a man who was demon possessed. There are many similar stories of healing in the holy Scripture. And we should notice that each time our Lord Jesus Christ performs the miracle of healing He asks: “Do you believe? Do you believe that I am able to do this?” When our Lord asks these questions he is knocking at the door of the hearts of men. He is looking for an opening to be let in, so that not only healing, but salvation may occur. This is described for us in the Book of Revelation of St. John where it says “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Rev. 3, 20).”
Fr. Igor pointed out that we should also knock at the door of our Savior by praying and asking Him to help us and then by confirming that we do believe in His power.
“All too often we seek after God through miraculous signs of His action in creation and fail to see the spiritual miracles that occur around us. St. John Chrysostom speaks of this in the following manner: “Do not therefore seek signs, but the soul’s health. Seek not to see one dead man raised; nay, for you have learned that the whole world is arising. Seek not to see a blind man healed, but behold all now restored unto that better and more profitable sight; and do you too learn to look chastely, and amend your eye.”
“So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, seek not after miracles. Seek rather after salvation for Christ is knocking at the door of your heart. Open the door of your hearts to Him that you may enter into the New Creation and receive the spiritual miracles that will change you and the world around you. Through this change you will be able to respond truly: “Yes, Lord, I believe” and to receive according to our faith.” – said Fr. Igor.
Parishioners enjoyed our common trapeza following the Divine Liturgy.

6th Sunday after Pentecost

On July 15th, on the 6th Sunday after Pentecost, Rector of St. George Church, priest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy at our temple. On this day, feast of the Deposition of the precious Robe of the Most Holy Mother of God is celebrated.
Following the reading of the Gospel Fr. Igor discussed the Divine Liturgy. This was his last talk on the meaning of the main Orthodox service. He interpreted the conclusional rites of the Liturgy: Prayer behind the Ambo, the Final blessing and the Liturgy Dismissal.
After the celebration of the Liturgy Fr. Igor preached a short sermon about today’s feast in the Russian language. He recalled the history of the feast of the Deposition of the Robe of the Holy Theotokos. This happened in the 9th century when the royal city of Constantinople was besieged by the enemies. A fervent prayer of the inhabitants and the intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God through Her precious relic saved the city from the invaders. Those invaders were our ancestors, Eastern Slavs. They received a generous contribution from the city and departed. But they also wished to embrace Christian faith. Their leader, prince Askold of Kiev, became a Christian and attempted to introduce Christianity in the ancient lands of Rus’. Unfortunately, his plan was not fulfilled. But since that time our ancestors began to be acquainted with holy Orthodoxy, and Christian temples began to appear in Kiev. This was the result of the miraculous intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos who protected Christians in Constantinople and also enlightened our pagan ancestors.
Following the service our parishioners enjoyed our delicious trapeza.

Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul

On July 12th, on the feast of the Holy Major Apostles Peter and Paul, the Rector of St. George Church served the Divine Liturgy.
After the reading of the Gospel Fr. Igor preached a short homily in English, and after the Liturgy dismissal he repeated his sermon in the Russian language. He pointed out that although Holy Apostles Peter and Paul were two very different men who had a number of disagreements regarding pastoral matters and ways of preaching the Gospel, they both were united in the same faith, the faith of Christ and of the Apostles. “That same faith was expressed by St. Peter in today’s Gospel lesson. When our Lord Jesus Christ asked His Disciples who they think He is, Simon Peter answered: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’. This was the right answer. This was the true faith held by the Apostles. And due to that faith the Lord said to St. Peter that on this rock He will build His Church, so the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Simon’s faith was firm and solid like a rock. Thus Simon acquired the new name – Peter meaning ‘the Rock’”
Fr. Igor also discussed the wrong interpretation of that Gospel passage done by Roman Catholics. They find here a clear confirmation of their teaching that the bishop of Rome being the successor of St. Peter must have the power over the Church and is supposed to be the head of the Universal Church. We, Orthodox, do not agree with such a simplistic interpretation. The Church of Christ is built upon all the Apostles and upon their faith expressed by St. Peter. And the Head of the Church is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. And He wishes now to build His Church on us, its members, and on our firm faith. “Let us then keep and cherish our holy Orthodox faith and let us pray that our Lord Jesus Christ through the prayers of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul may preserve us in that faith and piety!” – finished his sermon Fr. Igor.

4th Sunday after Pentecost

On July 1st, on the 4th Sunday after Pentecost our Rector, priest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy at St. George’s Church.
After the Gospel lesson Fr. Igor lectured on the Divine Liturgy and was telling about the rites of the Communion of the faithful. He pointed out that today’s custom to receive Communion under both species and from the chalice on the spoon developed some time around 10th century AD. In the early Church people received Communion right from the altar and took the Body of Christ by hands and then received the Blood of Christ drinking from the chalice. Nowadays this is done only by clergy in the sanctuary while lay people receive Communion in the nave and from the priest holding the chalice and distributing the Body and Blood of Christ with the spoon.
This Sunday we had some more people attending our temple due to the absence of Sunday Liturgy at the Holy Annunciation Church in Flushing.
After the Liturgy Fr. Igor and parishioners enjoyed our common trapeza prepared by our good cooks.