On May 17 of this year the Orthodox Church celebrated great feast of the Ascension of the Lord. St. George parish had a nice celebration on this day. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Our parish was visited by a ROCOR cleric, Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) who prayed during the Liturgy in the sanctuary.
After the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He pointed out that at His glorious Ascension into heaven our Lord ascended both with His divine and human nature. Thus it is a spiritual comfort for us to be aware that our human nature had been also ascended with Jesus and thus the Lord prepared there a place for us.
Fr. Igor also addressed the question why Jesus gave His Disciples some time after His Ascension, before He sent the Holy Spirit upon them. He did not sent the Spirit right away because the Lord wished the Apostles to prepare, to become aware of that and to be certain about their life decision to follow Christ. God never wants to force us to follow Him. Therefore, the Apostles had to be free to decide. They also had to be patient awaiting the Holy Spirit and to stay together in prayer.
At the conclusion of his homily the Rector called the faithful to pray the Lord and His Blessed Mother (who was present at the event of the Ascension along with Holy Apostles) to strengthen our spiritual efforts to acquire the divine grace leading to heaven and to make us patient in our earthly journey towards heavenly goal.
After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar server performed the rite of Glorification in front of the festal icon singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast.
Following the service the Rector preached a short sermon in English to stress the main thoughts of his Russian homily and congratulated the parishioners on the occasion of the great feast.
On May 13, on the Sunday of the Blind man, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. Following the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached a homily in Russian.
The Rector addressed the words of our Lord Jesus Christ pronounced in the Gospel lesson: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn. 9, 5). To confirm those words the Lord granted sight to the man born blind. Jesus is the Light of the world, not only for the blind whom He healed but for all of us. We are called “out of darkness into His marvelous light”, as holy Apostle Peter says (1 Pet. 2, 9). And holy Apostle Paul calls us “the sons of light” (1 Thes. 5, 5).
But are we really worthy of such a great calling and of such a great name? Alas! Many of us know little about the truths of Revelation and thus remain in darkness. Others, even if they know those truths, have a little faith and thus they close their spiritual eyes to the light of Christ. And others engage in the fruitless works of darkness by committing sins.
Those of us who were born in Soviet Union have some excuse: that society desired to raise us atheists, to educate us in spiritual darkness. But here, in America, we see another movement: the society which once was based on Christian values, now keeps rejecting them and leading people into spiritual darkness. And the people themselves easily agree. It looks like they blind themselves on purpose. They leave the Church, live a secular and non-religious life.
Was it supposed to be this way? Was the light of Christ granted to us, so we stay in the darkness? Did we become Christians to live like pagans? Therefore, we need to do everything possible to live in the light of Christ. If we are in spiritual darkness because of our ignorance of the truths of Revelation, let us learn them. If we are in darkness because we don’t firmly believe in those truths, let us pray, so the Lord may strengthen our faith. And if we are in darkness due to our sins, let us convert and repent. Let us appear the sons of light not only by name but by the very life in Christ!
The choir prayerfully performed hymns assigned to the Sunday of the Blind man and Paschal Aposticha during the preparation for Holy Communion.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in English conveying the main ideas of his Russian homily.
On the occasion of Mother’s Day the Rector congratulated all our ladies and extended his heartfelt wishes to them. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed.
The Rector also expressed his gratitude to all our parishioners, especially our ladies who did a lot of work to prepare for our Patronal feast of St. George celebrated last Sunday. The guests of the Parish, including His Grace, Bishop John were very pleased with our celebration and a warm welcome.
On May 6, on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman our Parish family had a beautiful celebration. On that day the Church commemorates Holy Great Victorious Martyr George. This is a Patronal feast of our Parish.
Our festal celebration was headed by our Archpastor, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk. His Grace arrived after the reading of the Third Hour and was greeted by our Parish Warden Olga Roussanow at the entrance to the temple. Bishop John entered the church where he was met by the Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov.
During the Sixth Hour the Bishop was vesting in the altar. Then the Divine Liturgy had begun. It was concelebrated by our Rector, as well as by Archpriest Lawrence Bacik, Rector of St. Elias Church in Battle Creek, Michigan, and by Deacon Alexey Golubov, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral. Two other cathedral clerics, Archpriest Yaroslav Lutoshkin and Priest Mark Rashkov were praying during the Liturgy and assisting in the altar.
Following the Liturgy dismissal the Bishop along with the serving clergy came out of the sanctuary to the middle of the temple and performed the rite of glorification singing the troparia, the kontakion and the magnification in honor of St. George.
At the end of the Liturgy His Grace had a speech. He congratulated the Rector and parishioners on the joyful Patronal feast of St. George. As a response to the Bishop’s speech Archpriest Igor Tarasov greeted His Grace in our temple.
After the liturgical service the celebration of our Patronal feast continued at the trapeza table where His Grace, the clergy, our parishioners and guests together enjoyed very delicious food and a nice company.