On May 26, on Sunday of the Paralytic we had a celebration at our St. George Church. It was headed by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. Fr. Igor returned after a two week trip to Kiev, Ukraine.
Following the reading from the holy Gospel the Rector preached a sermon. He discussed the miraculous healing of the paralytic performed by our Lord Jesus Christ. In particular, Fr. Igor pointed out that the state of the paralytic reminds us of the state in which the whole human kind was living before Christ. It was due to sin.
Fr. Igor said, “The human kind was spiritually paralyzed. It needed a Savior, a great Healer. But who could become such a Healer, such a Savior? In many legends and myths the people whom we call the Gentiles thought that it should be a great man, a hero. Other people, the Jews, who believed in one God and had a prophecy of the Messiah, also believed that such Messiah should be a human person. However, it was impossible for any man because human kind is sinful. It could be done only by God, but God willed to do it by becoming also a Man.”
“The whole attitude of waiting for a man, for a hero to save is reflected in today’s Gospel. The paralytic says, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up…” (Jn. 5, 7). He put his trust on men and he was unsuccessful for many years. He should have learned from the Scripture saying, “Do not put your trust in princes, in the sons of men, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps. 145, 3)”.
“Jesus was the Son of God, thus He could help the paralytic. So, He can help all the people in need, in sufferings, in pain. For He even conquered death.”
“On the other hand, the people who follow Christ, who are united with Him, can also become the partakers of His power. They continue His miracle working and the mission of salvation. In today’s Epistle we heard that Holy Apostle Peter was able to heal the paralytic also. And he was able to raise a recently dead young woman. St. Peter healed by the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 9, 34). And it is not accidental that today’s Epistle mentions that the followers of Christ were already called “Saints” (Acts 9, 32). People dedicated and belonging to God are saints. Such people are able to conduct the divine grace and the will of God. If we put our trust on God, He can act through such men.”
Fr. Igor concluded his homily saying, “Let us put our trust in God. Let us be faithful to our calling as Christians. Let us strive for being the partakers of our Lord’s grace and the conductors of His power. Let us also acquire this power in the Church where we can meet the people dedicated to God, the Saints of our days. The Church is our House of mercy, our healing place, a place of God’s graces. Let us belong here and become a part of our Lord’s Resurrection.”
After the Liturgy Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals at our common coffee hour.
On May 6 the Church commemorates Holy Great Victorious Martyr George. It is a Patronal feast of our Parish.This year it fell on the Bright Monday, the second day of Pascha.
St. George parish family had a solemn and beautiful celebration. It was headed by our Archpastor, Most Rev. Justinian, Archbishop of Naro-Fominsk. His Eminence arrived at 10:30 AM and was greeted by our Parish Warden Olga Roussanow at the entrance to the temple. Archbishop Justinian entered the church where he was met by the clergy. He then celebrated solemn Divine Liturgy. The Liturgy was concelebrated by our Rector, priest Igor Tarasov; Representative of the Russian National Council at the UN, archpriest George Roshchin; Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes, hegumen Nikodim (Balyasnikov); Secretary of the Archbishop, archpriest Eugene Goncharenko; clergy from the ROCOR: hieromonk Eutychius (Dovganyuk), hieromonk Zosimas (Krampis), and priest Aleksiy Paranyuk; cathedral protodeacon Igor Panachev and deacon Rodion Shamazov.
At the Little Entrance Archbishop Justinian commending the great merits of our Rector, priest Igor Tarasov in his service to the Holy Church elevated him into the rank of an Archpriest.
Before the rite of the holy Communion archpriest George Roshchin preached a brief sermon about the life and endeavors of St. George.
Our temple was almost filled with the guests from other parishes, among whom were the youth representatives from St. Nicholas Cathedral headed by Igor Kochan, our friend and benefactor Captain Stelios Tatsis and some parishioners of other Russian and Greek churches of the area.
At the end of the Liturgy the clergy headed by His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian had a procession around the temple singing Paschal hymns. Archbishop blessed faithful with holy water. Following the Liturgy Most Rev. Justinian said a few words about our holy Patron, St. George. He also commended Fr. Igor and our parishioners for the continuing support of the Parish and preserving the church life in such difficult circumstances. He then congratulated all who celebrated their name day and proclaimed a polychronion (singing of the “Mnogaia leta!, “Many years!”) to them.
Celebration continued on the church property where our ladies and the youth organized a picnic. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor had a toast to the honor of His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian. He said that we all should attempt to imitate St. George who was victorious because he was following the greatest Victor, our Lord Jesus Christ Who was risen from the death conquering death and evil. As a small flock, we still have a hope to be victorious by the protection of St. George and by the power of the Risen Christ, as well as being under the omophorion of Archbishop Justinian whose name contains some hints of the victory. Holy king Justinian, the Archbishop’s patron, was a victorious and successful ruler. In addition, the Archbishop’s secular, baptismal name was Victor. We then hope that with such a victorious Archpastor we may be successful in our religious and parish life.
Everybody enjoyed delicious food, nice company, interesting conversations, as well as singing of the Russian and Ukrainian songs.
On May 5 of this year 2013 all Orthodox Christians celebrated the greatest holy day, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Pascha.
Celebration at St. George Church began at 11:30 PM on Saturday, May 4. The church’s Rector, priest Igor Tarasov officiated at the Midnight service at the Lord’s Tomb and transferred the Shroud to the altar.
Right after midnight joyful Paschal celebration began. The priest assisted by the altar servers lead faithful in the procession around the temple. At the end of the procession everyone stood in front of the closed church doors where Fr. Igor began Resurrection Matins and proclaimed the Easter greeting, “Christ is risen” in Slavonic, English, Greek and Georgian languages. Faithful responded and sung Paschal troparion. Then the priest opened the doors of the temple and faithful entered into the church.
After Matins priest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. The Gospel lesson was traditionally read in several languages, namely in Greek, Slavonic, English, Serbian, Georgian and Spanish. Following the Gospel reading Fr. Igor proclaimed catechetical sermon of St. John Chrysostom on Pascha.
After the Liturgy the Rector greeted the people on the occasion of the greatest Christian feast and blessed Easter food.
Rector and parishioners continued their celebration of Pascha at the tables where they had an opportunity to enjoy delicious meals after the long time of Lenten restrictions.
CHRIST IS RISEN! ХРИСТОС ВОСКРЕСЕ!
During the Holy Week we had two services in our church. On Holy and Great Thursday, May 2, Rector of St. George Church, priest Igor Tarasov served Vespers with the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. This is the day when we commemorate the Last Supper and institution of the holy Mystery of the Eucharist.
On Holy and Great Friday, May 3, Fr. Igor served Vespers with the procession of the Shroud. Following the exposition of the Shroud in the middle of the church, the Rector preached a sermon about the holy Passions of our Lord Jesus Christ. He pointed out that sometimes we are tempted to think that Jesus suffered not as much as some people suffer from different diseases or tortures. These thoughts come into the minds when we see human sufferings. We should then remember that we all are sinful, and sufferings are the result of sin. But Christ was without sin. Yet He underwent terrible and humiliating sufferings. Even the thief who was crucified along with Jesus understood that. If one thief reviled Christ, another one whom we call the “wise robber”, rebuked his partner and said, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly… but this Man has done nothing wrong” (Lk. 23, 40-41). “Therefore, let us understand that these were the sufferings of God and the sufferings of an innocent Man. And, understanding that, let us appreciate what God has done for us.” – said Fr. Igor.
After the service of Vespers faithful venerated the shroud. The priest then prayed over the Lord’s tomb reading the Compline along with the Canon of Christ’s burial.