4th Sunday after Pentecost


On June 28, on the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, St. George parish held a liturgical celebration in its temple. The Church Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that homily is as follows:

”Today’s Gospel reading tells us about a healing of a paralyzed servant of the Roman centurion. Our Lord Jesus Christ performed such a miracle even without seeing or approaching the sick person. It was done through faith and intercession of the ill servant’s master. Let us reflect upon this event described in the Gospel of Matthew.”
“A centurion was a Roman army officer who commanded 100 hundred men. This man mentioned in the Gospel was a Gentile. But he had a faith that Jesus is the One who can help his servant to be cured from the disease. Although Christ usually stressed that He came to save His own people, the Jews, the whole ministry and the whole message of His teaching was encompassing the whole human race, regardless of the people’s origin. Jesus is really the Savior of all. For Him ethnic or social distinctions are void. In the eyes of the Jews, especially the Pharisees who were always ready to criticize Jesus, coming to the house of a Gentile was inappropriate. If Jesus entered the centurion’s home, it would make Him unclean. However, the Lord could act without entering the Gentile’s house. Doing so, He showed that salvation will come upon all the people of faith.”
“In the words of the centurion we hear the recognition of Jesus’ authority. He calls Jesus the Lord. It was significant for a man who himself had authority. But although the centurion had the power over men, he understood that only Jesus had the power over disease. He also understood his own limitations and unworthiness. Therefore, he said to Christ: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof “(Mt. 8, 8). But his sense of humility was perfected by his firm faith in the healing power of the Lord. Thus he continued: “But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Mt. 8, 8).  The word of the Savior is enough for a man to be freed from his disease.”
“This event teaches us about the importance of faith. Our Lord Jesus Christ praised the faith of the centurion. He speaks highly about that Gentile person, lifting him up as an example. The Lord goes further and declares nullity of the Jewish supremacy, saying that many from other nations will share the heavenly blessings with the Jewish patriarchs. He prophesizes: “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness” (Mt. 8, 11-12). We know that the sons of the kingdom are Jews, who had a sense of racial superiority as the chosen people of God. Coming of Christ demonstrated that not the Jews but all the people who believe in the Savior will become the chosen nation, the New Israel.”
“Therefore, let us keep and cherish our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior. Let us recognize His power and authority over the whole world and over any little thing in our lives. Let us believe that He can help us if we have faith. Let us also understand our limitations and unworthiness and humbly ask Him to help us. And lat us be worthy of the name of Christian that means to be among the chosen people of God, His holy nation which is prepared to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, also with the Holy Apostles, Martyrs and other Saints in the Kingdom of heaven.”

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English to stress the ideas of his previously preached Russian homily.

3rd Sunday after Pentecost


On June 21, on the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, Rector of St. George Church served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in English:

“The Gospel lesson of the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost is a part of the famous Sermon on the Mount which our Lord Jesus Christ preached at the beginning of His ministry. Today’s fragment is dealing with the right preferences, right priorities we should have. Our Lord knew our attachment to the material goods, so He teaches to care more about the true good which is the Kingdom of God. He says: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mt. 6, 33).”
“Why we should be anxious about spiritual things? Because they never change and lead us to the blessedness. Spiritual values determine our place in the eternity. Through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “the many dwellings” are prepared for us in heaven. There we will forever enjoy the good things which “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered to the heart of man” (1 Cor. 2, 9). Those blessed things which belong to the Kingdom of God should be valued more than worldly, bodily pleasures, and we have to strive for those eternal things with all our soul in order to be happy after our earthly life.”
“When the Lord said “Seek first the Kingdom of God”, He meant not only life after death, but also our earthly life. Spiritual values have the greatest importance also for our earthly existence because they show us the true sense of life. God is a perfect and the happiest being. He is love, joy, peace and the source of happiness. And only a person who becomes close to God, can enjoy the true happiness, peace and pleasure. The one who became the temple of the Holy Spirit, who has God in his heart, always feels peace in the soul, the full satisfaction in life and the spiritual joy. Jesus said: “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17, 21). It means that blessedness, happiness may be within us if we are close to God.”
”How can we acquire that state of blessedness, the Kingdom of God within us? Jesus tells us to seek that Kingdom and “His righteousness”. That means that we need to seek the God’s righteousness: how to please God and how to justify ourselves before Him. Those things we may acquire if we live in piety and justice. The All-Holy God indwells only in those who strive to imitate Him in their righteousness and piety. Only those people are granted the spiritual goods – peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. How can enjoy peace and joy those who attempt only to earn, as much as possible, wealth or power? How can have peace those who dream only about the pleasures of flesh, or about food, or alcohol, or drugs? Do you think that those who unjustly earned a lot of money, enjoy peace or sleep well? Why those powerful people are surrounded by the bodyguards?”
“If we will care about spiritual treasures, the Lord will bestow upon us earthly well-being, in addition to the spiritual goodness. “All these things shall be added to you” – says the Lord, meaning that we will have material wealth. Earthly goodness is the result of the spiritual, righteous life. Therefore, we have to decide to live as Christians, according to the precepts of God. We may live in this world and achieve awards along with the great Saints. St. Macarius says: “God does not look whether you are a virgin or a married woman; a monk or a lay person, but He seeks only a heartfelt desire for good deeds. Make such a resolution, and salvation is near you, whoever you are or wherever you live.” Thus, dear brothers and sisters, let us remember the commandment of God: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”.”

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian to stress the main thoughts of his English homily preached before. He also congratulated all men and fathers of the parish on the occasion of Father’s Day. Traditional “Mnogaia leta” was proclaimed.

Following the Liturgy the Rector and parishioners continued Father’s Day celebration at the trapeza table enjoying delicious meals and a nice company.

2nd Sunday after Pentecost, of All the Saints of Rus’

On June 14, on the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, on the feast of All the Saints of the Russian Church, we had a nice celebration at St. George Church. Our parish Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the readings from the Holy Gospel he preached a homily in Russian. An English translation of that sermon is as follows:

“Today’s reading from the Gospel of St. Matthew tells us about our Lord Jesus Christ calling His first Disciples to follow Him. It is about electing the first followers. The Scripture tells that those four men, Andrew, Peter, James and John, were fishermen at the Sea of Galilee. Although these men were unlearned and illiterate, they could accept such a call. The interpreters of the Gospel tell us that those men were prepared for Jesus’ call by the preaching of St. John the Baptist. They came to listen to his speeches, were probably baptized by him and were ready to accept Christ. This is why we read that they “immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mt. 4, 20).”
“In the same way our Lord chooses and calls different men to become laborers in His vineyard, servers at His holy altar, to become priests. It happens in infinitely various ways, but the sense is the same: Jesus comes, calls them to follow Him, and they do. I may recall my own vocation to the priestly ministry. At the age of 12 I just became interested in the Church life, in services and desired to become one of the servants of the Lord. There was no special vision or supernatural revelation – I only became very much exited about the Church life. All other interests became less important. Other people could have a different story, but the sense is the same: Jesus calls, and we follow.”
“But Jesus also, in the same way, calls everybody to follow Him. He wishes every man and woman to be His disciple, His follower, to be a Christian. The calling happens also in many different ways, in different time, at different age. But it happens. God in His ineffable wisdom called St. John the Baptist from the time he was conceived in his mother’s womb, so he could leap in the womb of Elizabeth when Holy Virgin Mary, also being pregnant with Jesus, came to visit her. God in His incomprehensible providence called St. Nicholas the Wonderworker when he was a babe, so little Nicholas refused to be nursed on Wednesdays and Fridays. Almost ten centuries later the same behavior was seen in the baby Bartholomew who later became Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, one of our greatest Saints.”
“Many Saints were called at their young age, but some were called later. St. Paul converted at the age of maturity, after he persecuted Christians. St. Moses the Black converted after being a merciless criminal and killer. St. Augustine changed his life after 20 years of prayers said for his conversion by his mother, St. Monica.”
“Celebrating today our Saints of Rus’ we may also recall that one of them, Equal to the Apostles Prince Vladimir also converted at his age of maturity. Before that the Baptizer of Rus’ was a zealous pagan. But when he heard and accepted the calling of Christ, he became a pious worshiper of the true God. After being a sinner, a polygamist, he became a sincere Christian. And after being a cruel ruler he became Vladimir the “Sunny Beautiful” how he was called by his subjects.”
“All of us were first called to follow Jesus when we became baptized. But for those of us who were baptized at their early age, this was just an advance invitation. After growing up we may truly accept or decline that Lord’s invitation. The world is full of stories of various people how they heard the calling of the Lord and started to go after Him.”
“Therefore, if it happened for those people, it should happen for us. Many of us may say that we have been already called and followed Jesus. Our presence here in the church serves as a proof of that. But even then, we need to be open to the voice of the Lord calling us to follow Him further. We need to be faithful to our vocation as Christians. We need to eliminate from our lives anything which stands in our way of following the Lord. So, let us discern the true calling of our lives and be the true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector briefly conveyed the ideas of his Russian homily in a short English sermon.


Sunday of All Saints

On June 7, on the First Sunday after Pentecost dedicated to All Saints, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, Rector of St. George Church, served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. Following the Gospel reading he preached a homily:

“On the First Sunday after Pentecost we celebrate feast of All Saints. We pay our respects to all men and women who lived their lives as holy and God-pleasing people, the just and righteous ones. It should be understood because as a result of the Descent of the Holy Spirit the Church was born, and members of the Church became able to acquire holiness. The Saints we honor are the people who conquered evil in their own lives, in their own souls, just as our Lord Jesus Christ did it for the whole world.”
“It is the nature of the human existence that if every person overcomes evil in himself, he achieves a victory that affects other people and the whole world. Universal evil, being conquered even in one single person, suffers a great loss. Even one single holy person means a lot to the whole world. By their very existence the holy men and women whom we call the Saints, bring down to the earth a great blessing from God. St. Barsanophius teaches that a prayer of three holy men once preserved the world from total destruction. Because of the Saints, even of those who are unknown, the course of the universal events changes. Every Saint has a significance because by his life he crosses the boundaries of earthly history and reaches into eternity. The Saints are the salt of the earth. They are the sense of human existence. The very earth is preserved because of them. When the earth would stop producing the Saints, the force which preserves the world from a disaster will disappear. In the Old Testament we read that Abraham asked God whether the Lord would spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of ten righteous men. The Lord answered: “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten” (Gen. 18, 32). St. Siluanos says: “The world stands by the prayer, and when the prayer will weaken, the world will perish.””
“Many people do not understand the connection between the religious life of an individual and the well-being of the world, between internal warfare against evil within one person and everlasting life. People often think that spiritual life of an individual is significant only for him and that it will cease to exist if it stops to exist in the soul of an individual. But in reality the spiritual life of the Saints affects the life of the whole world. And if there will be no Saints in the world, the world will end.”
“Therefore, today we honor those people who became the best out of human race. Today’s kontakion calls them “the first-fruits of nature” offered by the universe to the “Planter of creation” who is God. Such sacrifice, the lives of the God-bearing martyrs, along with the holy Apostles, Venerable Fathers and Mothers, all other Saints, became possible after our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled His work of redemption of humanity. Now the redeemed humanity could bring forth the fruits of holiness and faithfulness. Some holy men and women could be found even before that, in the Old Testament. These were righteous people living according to the will of God despite the great abyss of sinfulness in which the whole humanity was kept. Their number was not so great. But in Jesus Christ thousands and millions of people could reach holiness. In fact, all Christians are called to be holy, to be Saints. This is why when St. Paul composed his letter to the Colossians he wrote the following address, “To the Saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse” (Col. 1, 2).”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us honor those holy men and women, because of whom the world existed. Let us, by ourselves, conduct spiritual life and our own warfare against evil. Let us imitate the Saints and strive for holiness, because we are Christian people. Then we will be able to receive the awards promised by our Lord Jesus Christ in today’s Gospel, and then we will inherit eternal life.”

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector congratulated Andrew and Maria Malyshew on the occasion of the past name day of their little daughter Yelena (Helen). Traditional “Mnogaia leta” was proclaimed.

The Rector preached a short sermon in Russian conveying the ideas of his English homily.  He also reminded parishioners that tomorrow we begin St. Peter’s Fast dedicated to the work and endeavors of the Holy Apostles.

Following the service the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company at the coffee hour.



On May 31, on the Sunday of Pentecost and feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we had a beautiful and solemn celebration at St. George Church. Our parish Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy.

Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian. In that sermon the Rector pointed out that we, as a Church community, as well as each individual Christian, have to strive to imitate Holy Apostles in receiving the Holy Spirit. The ways of acquiring the Holy Spirit are different from our earthly usual ways of reaching something. We do not need intellect and knowledge to be partakers of the Spirit of God. Today’s Gospel reading showed that the most knowledgeable and educated people among the Jews, the high priests and Pharisees, could not recognize the Messiah in Jesus. On the other hand,  Holy Apostles were not educated, some of them were simple fishermen. Yet they did receive the Holy Spirit. And, as we sing in today’s festal troparion, God made those fishermen wise. The skills may not also be helpful. The only skills that could be needed are the skills to live a spiritual life. We need faith, trust to the Lord, and prayer to be the receivers of the Holy Spirit.
Right after the Divine Liturgy the Rector served Pentecostal Vespers with kneeling prayers.

Following the beautiful and prayerful services the Rector and parishioners continued their celebration of the Trinity Day at the trapeza table enjoying delicious meals and a nice company.