Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On September 27 the Orthodox Church celebrates feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross. On that holy day e had a liturgical celebration in our temple. Before the reading of the Hours St. George’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov placed the cross in the middle of the church and venerated it. After the Hours he began the Divine Liturgy.

Unfortunately, during the reading of the Holy Gospel one of our parishioners, Vitaliy Malyshew, felt very ill and fainted. The Rector paused the reading but very soon was able to finish it. But the service had to be interrupted to assist the ill and to call an ambulance for him. After the ambulance took Mr. Malyshew to the hospital the Rector could resume the service of the Liturgy.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector performed the rite of Glorification before the Cross singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Exaltation. At the end of the celebration he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters! Our today’s celebration was interrupted by an unfortunate incident. It happened during the reading of the Holy Gospel. And such a thing happened during such an important and holy moment not for the first time. It proves to us that the evil force exists and attacks true Christians. But, dear brothers and sisters, all the evil forces can be conquered by the power of the Precious and Life-creating Cross of Christ!
“Today’s Epistle lesson proclaims that “we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness” (1 Cor. 1, 23). To the ancient Greco-Roman world, the Christian claim of the cross was complete foolishness. If you are familiar with Greek mythology, you remember that Greek gods could also take on human appearance. For instance, Zeus did it to chase after women, causing more harm than help. We, Christians, believe that God assumed a human body and soul, not to find pleasure but to enter into our pain. This is the mystery and the glory of the Holy Cross.”
“God enters into the depth, the pit of human experience through Jesus’ crucifixion and death. We are not alone. We wish that the Holy Cross meant that we don’t have to suffer, but it means that God chose to suffer with us. God’s ways are not our ways.”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, we must always exalt and lift up the Cross of Jesus Christ. We must exalt and honor that sign of our faith, the sign of our hope and the sign of God’s love. If the Greek gods played their games with humans, the God of Jesus Christ suffered with human kind. And He suffers with us. Exalting the Precious and Life-giving Cross we should realize that God is indeed with us.”

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


On September 25, on the Sunday before Exaltation our Parish gathered for a liturgical celebration. In addition to Sunday celebration we also observed feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. St. George’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy.

After the Scripture readings the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He pointed out that in the Epistle to the Galatians assigned for this day St. Paul says that by “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ… the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6, 14). It means that St. Paul after his conversion to Christ became strange to the world, and the world became strange to him. However, in today’s Gospel lesson the Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, 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). The world that became strange to Paul, that same world is so loved by God! How can we reconcile the words from the Epistle and the Gospel?
In order to understand that we need to read further the chapter of the Gospel passage assigned for today. Jesus says the world is going to be judged because the light came into that world but men loved darkness rather than light (Jn. 3, 19). That light is our Lord Jesus Christ. He came to the world to redeem it by His death on the cross. But not all men believed in Him; they loved darkness. From the world of such men St. Paul and all Christian champions of faith were renouncing. Such a world is full of evil and is our enemy. But, on the other hand, faithful also live in this world. And for them our Savior willed to suffer.
Fr. Igor further reflected upon the great generosity of God who offered Himself for us. This is the most generous gift. But we who wish to be the followers of Christ need to learn to be generous. Celebrating the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God we may recall that righteous Joachim and Anna were very generous. They lived only on one third of their income giving one third to the poor and one third for the Temple. And the Most Holy Mother of God was generous by offering all Her life to God, to Her Son, Jesus Christ. Her generosity continues in heaven where She keeps helping us.
In conclusion of his homily the Rector called the faithful to retreat from the sinful world but to love the world praying for it and serving the neighbor. He called to love God in return for His generous love and to show generosity to others.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector stressed the main thoughts of his homily in a brief sermon in English.

13th Sunday after Pentecost


On September 18, on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, St. George Church had a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily in English:

“Today’s Gospel lesson tells us a parable about vineyard and about its evil tenants. The story was addressed to the leaders of the Jews, to those who did not accept Jesus as their Messiah and who wished to destroy Him.”
“The meaning of this parable is quite simple. The landowner is God the Father. He planted a vineyard which is Israel, the holy nation of God, the Church of the Old Testament. The tenants 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 servants are the Prophets, sent by God in the times of the Old Testament to proclaim His will. The tenants beat and killed the servants. The Jewish leaders persecuted the Prophets and really killed some of them. Today we commemorate Holy Prophet Zachariah and righteous Elizabeth, parents of St. John the Baptist. St. Zachariah was a priest in the holy Temple and he was one of the latest Prophets before Christ. He was killed right in the Temple, between the offering table and the altar. Such was the destiny of many Prophets. Since those servants of God were mistreated and not listened, God sent His onlybegotten Son. The Jewish leaders might honor the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. But in their envy and impiety they murdered the Son as well. He 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.”
“The biggest mistake those evil tenants made was to think that the vineyard was his own possession, not the property of the landowner. And the leaders of the Jews also began to think that Israel is their own possession, so they can rule over it without God and without His Messiah.”
“Now all of us, the true followers of Christ, became the holy nation of God. We are His Church, the Church of the New Testament. Thus it is important for us is to be the new and worthy tenants of God’s vineyard. And the lesson of this parable remains as a stern warning for us too. We may also commit the same grave mistake as those tenants of the parable. We may begin to see ourselves not as humble workers in the vineyard of the Lord but as its owners. Such a danger is closer and more real for us the clergy – bishops, priests, and deacon, who are called to work at the vineyard of the Lord. It is the danger of forgetting that the vineyard of the Church is not our property, but His, who, in the time of the harvest, will demand of us “to bear fruit.” And such an error had been committed by the Church of Rome. The popes began to see themselves the supreme authority in the Church, forgetting that the head of the Church is Jesus Christ Himself. This is why the Russian writer Dostoyevsky pictured that attitude in his “Legend about the Great Inquisitor”. In that story of the great Russian thinker, the Roman Catholic prelate tells Jesus Himself that they do not need Him, that they perfectly manage without Him and that His coming is very inconvenient for their ruling over the people of God.”
“But the same danger may await us, the Orthodox clergy. We may also think that the Church is our own property, not God’s. God gives us a warning through Prophet Isaiah: “What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it?” (Is. 5, 4). Indeed, He planted the vineyard, He called us to work and cultivate His spiritual grapes. Yet, He is the vine; we are the branches. If we remain in Him we will bear much fruit; for apart from Him we can do nothing (Jn. 15, 5).”
“Sometimes we also hear that the lay people make the same mistake when they talk of the Church as if it was their property, as it belonged to them. They do it because they or their parents played some role in the construction or decoration of the building. My dear, if the Church is yours, then it is not the Lord’s, and if it is not the Lord’s then it is not the Church!”
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us all of us, clergy and laity, avoid the mistakes of the evil tenants. Let us avoid their ungratefulness, their hardening of the hearts. Let us instead repeat and proclaim with gratitude the last words of today’s Gospel: “This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Mt. 21, 42).”

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

The Rector congratulated our long-time parishioner Natalia Soho on the occasion of her past name day. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was sung.

Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.


Winter Service Schedule


Please, note that beginning with Sunday, September 18 we are going to return to our winter schedule. Our Sunday services will begin at 10:00 AM.
For more information please check our monthly Service Schedule.

12th Sunday after Pentecost. Beheading of St. John the Baptist

On September 11, on the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, St. George Parish had a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple.

Following the Scripture lessons the Rector preached a homily in Russian. In that homily he pointed out that the Gospel readings assigned for today may leave us a little disturbed. In the first lesson from the Gospel of Matthew the Lord tells that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven (Mt. 19, 16-26). Jesus goes on and says that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Thus, salvation is a difficult task. And in today’s second Gospel lesson we heard the story of an unjust killing of St. John the Baptist (Mk. 6, 14-30). It leaves us with an impression that good may not necessarily overcome evil. But if we examine those readings carefully, we may see that they give us some encouragement. The Lord says to the young man that if he wishes to enter into eternal life, he has to keep the Commandments. Therefore, it is enough for our salvation if we obey the God’s law, if we do not break the Commandments. If we wish to go further, we may follow the advice our Lord gives: to distribute possessions. But it is not a command. For the most people keeping the Commandments is enough to enter the Kingdom of God. Some people desire to go further. In Christianity it is called the monastic life. Monks take the vows, for instance, the vow of poverty, renouncing any material wealth. Our today’s celebrated Saint, Holy Forerunner and Baptist John also renounced all worldly things and led a life dedicated to the Lord in the desert. He was an example of such striving for perfection which cannot be imitated by many. However, no one is obligated to be a monk. Most of us do not even able to keep the Commandments. The problem is that most of the people violate them at least once in their lives. This is why we need to remember the encouraging words of Christ said in today’s Gospel: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Mt. 19, 26). Without God’s help we cannot even keep the Commandments because of our sinful nature. Therefore, we need to acquire the God’s help to reach our salvation.

The choir prayerfully sung the hymns dedicated to the feast of the Beheading.

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

11th Sunday after Pentecost

On September 4, on the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, our Parish Family held a nice celebration in our temple. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Following the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in English.

Fr. Igor pointed out that in the Gospel lesson assigned for this Sunday the Lord instructs us that we need to forgive our neighbors in order to receive God’s forgiveness. In English language the word “forgive” is connected to the word “give”. Forgiveness is giving of ourselves. Giving is very important in Christianity. In ancient times Christians coming for the Liturgy used to bring different things to the temple. They brought what was needed for the community. This was called “Proskomedia” which translates as offering. Nowadays Proskomedia is limited to the faithful’s giving of the commemoration lists to the priest to remember at the Liturgy. But the Church still needs your donations to support the parish.
But forgiving is even more important than giving because it is not giving of something, but giving of ourselves.

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.

The choir was prayerfully singing the hymns of the Dormition, the feast which had still been celebrated on that day.

After the Ambo prayer the Rector offered a Prayer for the preservation of creation. After that he also offered a prayer for the schoolchildren who begin their new school year. The Rector blessed our children and wished them a successful study and acquiring of knowledge.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian explaining the main ideas of his English homily.

After the liturgical service the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company at the trapeza table.