20th Sunday after Pentecost. Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council


On October 25, on the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, as well as Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council, we had a beautiful celebration in our Parish. The Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily in English:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate the 20th Sunday after Pentecost and we commemorate the Holy Fathers of the 7th, last Ecumenical Council of Nicaea. And today’s Gospel lesson tells us about rising of the son of the widow of Nain. This story can be found only in the Gospel of St. Luke. It shows that our Lord Jesus Christ had a great compassion towards people. Here we have a woman who first lost her husband and now was burying her only son. In the society of those days such a woman was predestined to live a poor and miserable life. Her husband was taking care of her. When he died, her son remained her only provider. Now she lost him. This is why Jesus seeing the funeral procession and being probably told about the situation, felt for that woman so much, as every kind man would feel. But Jesus goes further than that. He comes forth and says to the widow: “Do not weep”. And He touches the coffin and says to the dead young man: “Young man, I say to you, arise” (Lk. 7, 14). He performs the miracle and the young man comes back to life. In that we see the difference between Jesus and any kind man. Jesus is not just a kind man, He is the Son of God, He is the Lord”.
“As the Lord Jesus Christ performed great and astonishing miracles. One of them is described in today’s Gospel. Raising the dead young man was done by Jesus to show His power over life and death. Such a power could be possessed only by the Lord of the universe, only by God who created life and who is giving it to His creatures. We also remember that Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus. All these events had to demonstrate the power of God given to Jesus. Finally, Jesus was Himself risen from the dead. But we should note that all three raisings of the people described in the Gospels were acts of resuscitation which is different from resurrection. They were brought back to life, but would eventually die again. But their new life manifests Christ’s divinity, and gives assurance of His Resurrection and ours, a transformation to glory. Those miraculous acts also glorify God as the Giver of life and His Son, Jesus who would be specially glorified in His Resurrection”.
“This miracle teaches us that our Lord is the Master of our life and our death. He is the source of our existence. He created us and bestowed His gift of life on every one of us. However, this gift does not seem to be enduring forever. More than that, it seems to be vulnerable and perishable. Many unpleasant things threaten that gift: illnesses, accidents, crimes, wars, stresses and so on. They all may endanger our life and cause its termination. We try to preserve that precious gift, but we often fail. Realizing such a condition we should not despair. God gave us another precious gift – a gift of faith. It is supposed to make us strong and wise during the course of our earthly life. It has to teach us to make right choices and to believe that earthly life is not the only life we possess. We believe that eternal life of the soul awaits us after death. We also believe that eternal life of the risen body awaits us after the resurrection of the dead”.
“Commemorating the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council we have to recall that those Councils defined what is our Christian faith, what this gift of faith is about. And it is important to have a true and correct understanding of what we believe in. Today’s second Epistle lesson says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebr. 13, 8). Thus we cannot change that faith, and if someone alters that gift of faith or alters our morals, he deviates from the teaching of the Fathers, teaching of the Ecumenical Councils and from the teaching of Christ who is always the same. We are now disturbed by what happened last week: the bishop of Rome stated that homosexuals should have a right to marriage unions supported by the states. In this way the head of the Roman Church deviated from the teaching of the Church; he attempts to alter the teaching of Christ. It is unheard that a Catholic could say so, but it happened. And we, Orthodox, should firmly reject such ideas and not deviate from our holy faith and our pious morals. Things in the world do change and we may adapt to those changes but we cannot change the way we believe, the way we worship and we also cannot alter our moral values. Because, as we mentioned,“Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever””.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Our faith tells us also that earthly death came to existence due to the sin of our ancestors. Adam and Eve did not have to die. God explicitly said to them when they will die: if they would eat the forbidden fruit. After eating that fruit Adam died spiritually and became subjected to physical death of the fallen and corrupted body. Only our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man could trample death by His Resurrection. He destroyed that enemy of humanity. No one else could do it, but God. No one else could give the son of the widow back to his mother. And no one else after death can give our soul to our body again. Although death still exists and takes its toll from the sinful mankind, we all live and die with the great hope for the eternal life with God and for our own resurrection with Jesus. One day He will come and say to every one of us: “I say to you, arise.” And we will. We will begin everlasting life, so let us prepare for it by good works of faith, hope and love”.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.

The choir nicely performed Psalm 33 during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian addressing the main ideas of his English homily. He also made an announcement regarding renovations in the altar area of the temple. The work will begin next week and is supposed to be finished before November 8. Thus we are not going to have the Liturgy next Sunday, November 1 and parishioners should refer to the November schedule of services.

Future Renovations in our Temple


Dear parishioners and fiends of St. George’s!

Soon we anticipate to start renovations in our temple. We are planning to do the flooring in the altar part of the church: in the sanctuary and on the pulpit area. The old carpet will be removed and the new wooden floor installed.
This project will cost $ 11,000.
Rector of the parish and the church Warden prepared a letter of appeal to assist us in that project, as well as in the purchase of a new set of Eucharistic vessels. The appeal will be mailed to our friends and benefactors. A copy of it is attached below.
We are asking you to open your hearts for a cheerful giving to support our tiny parish!

19th Sunday after Pentecost. Celebration of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God

On October 18, on the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, our Parish also celebrated Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the Scripture readings he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today’s first reading from the Gospel presents us a very difficult advice our Lord Jesus Christ gives. He says: “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return” (Lk. 6, 35). It seems to us that it is something unnatural, not normal to love bad people, especially your enemies. These words may seem to be weird and even stupid. However, these are the words of the Lord, the words of Jesus. And if we recall the whole life of our Lord here on earth, we may realize that He acted that strange way. Jesus did not hide from His enemies, did not run away from the danger being apprehended and killed. When He was taken by His enemies He said nothing to avoid being crucified. And when He was tortured and crucified He prayed for His enemies and executioners: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23, 34). Therefore, if we think that a commandment to love the enemies is a strange and unnatural, let us remember that Jesus Christ gave us an example of that”.
“Another thing that we should keep in mind is that our enemies are also human beings. And every human being can make mistakes. We make them also, and we may also cause trouble to the other people. But God loves all of us. Today we heard the words that God is “kind to the unthankful and evil” (Lk. 6, 35). Sometimes we wonder why God allows bad things to happen and let bad people to live, sometimes live long lives and even prosper. It is because God is kind. We are all His children, good and bad. “And He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt. 6, 45). We also commit sins, and when we do so, we are not quite good. No, we are evil. But God forgives us when we repent. Being the children of God, we should love each other. God does it to us. He awaits our conversion and repentance if we do something wrong. If we do not repent at all, then God will judge us at the end of times. But not now”.
“Thinking of the enemies, we may recall our today’s celebrated feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God. We commemorate our Lady’s miraculous appearance in the church in Constantinople and saving of the imperial city from the attack of the invaders happened in the 8th century. The two holy men, Andrew and Epiphanius saw the Holy Mother of God appearing in the temple and covering the city with Her veil. After that the city was spared and the enemies retreated. This was a remarkable example of the special intercession of the Blessed Virgin for the Christian people. It was also a manifestation of the power of prayer and faith of the pious people. At that time all the inhabitants of Constantinople were fervently praying and asking God and the Holy Virgin to save them and their city”.
“It is interesting that the enemies who besieged the imperial city of Constantinople were our ancestors, Eastern Slavs. Back then they were pagans and did not know Christian faith. But later they embraced Christianity and became also protected by the precious veil of the Blessed Mother. She showed Her love and intercession for our people many times. Therefore it is also remarkable that the Russian Church, as well as all Slavic Churches, preserved celebration of today’s feast, while the Greeks did not, although the event we celebrate happened with them. Our faithful love the Blessed Mother and like to honor Her on many occasions”.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us not judge our enemies at this point but let us wait for the Last Judgment of the Lord. Let us not forget that some enemies may later become our friends. It happens in the course of history that some nation is fighting another nation but later they make peace and become friendly. It also happens between the communities. Nowadays even among Orthodox Christians we see some differences and even rivalry. The Patriarchate of Constantinople is now competes with the Russian Church but as we notice, some Greeks attend Russian churches because they prefer traditional piety. Some Orthodox are more liberal and loose, some are more strict and conservative – like the Russian Church. But there are Greeks who attend our churches. And as I heard the Russian monastery on Long Island received a generous donation from the Greek people to build a new temple. Thus it becomes relative who are now rivals or allies, enemies or friends”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us ask God to give us a soft heart to love our enemies in order to be similar to our Lord Jesus Christ who loved His enemies and prayed for them. Let us fervently pray to the Most Holy Mother of God, our Intercessor and Protectress in all troubles and needs, so She may help us and cover us with Her holy veil protecting against all evils”.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.

The choir beautifully performed the hymns in honor of the Theotokos during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector performed the rite of glorification in front of the festal icon singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast. He also made an announcement regarding the future renovations in the sanctuary and called the faithful to be generous in their donations for the temple’s beautification.

18th Sunday after Pentecost


On October 11, on the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, Rector of St. George Church headed the Divine Liturgy at our Parish temple. He was co-served by Priest Nenad Flora.

After the reading from the Holy Gospel Fr. Igor preached the following homily in English:

“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today’s Gospel tells us how our Lord Jesus Christ called His first disciples, holy Apostles Peter, James and John. Another Gospel would tell us that there was also holy Apostle Andrew, the brother of Peter whom the Lord called among the first. There was a similar reading from the Gospel of Matthew on the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost. But today’s story is a little bit different. It shows us the great difference which lays between God and man”.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ is God although He appeared to the world as the Son of Man. As God He came to save the man. In today’s story He was preaching to the people from the boat belonging to Simon Peter. Then Jesus asked Peter to launch out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch. Holy Fathers say that this request meant a radical change in the life of St. Peter. But for Simon Peter of that time, time described in the Gospel of today, this seemed to be a strange and futile idea. As a fisherman he knew and was sure that there is no sense of doing so. And he expressed his thoughts to Jesus saying: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net” (Lk. 5, 5). St. Peter had his human understanding of the situation. As a man he was right. But our Lord Jesus Christ had a different understanding. God had a different vision. And we know that the wonderful catch of a lot of fish which followed the attempt of Peter, proved Jesus to be right and Peter to be wrong. God may see things differently”.
“But as a man, St. Peter showed obedience to God. Honoring Jesus as his Master, he obeyed His request. Yes, he disagreed with Jesus, but he said: “Nevertheless at Your word” I’ll do it. And when he saw that Jesus is not just a Teacher or a Master, but someone higher than that, he called Him the Lord. Peter fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, o Lord” (Lk. 5, 8). In this exclamation we see the fear of a man standing before God. Peter expresses human fear, incomprehension of God’s majesty and the sense of difference between man and God. He also acknowledges his own unworthiness and sinfulness”.
“Today’s Gospel teaches us to understand our own sinfulness and to exercise humility before God. But it also teaches us to see how different is our vision and understanding of things from the vision God has about them. It may happen in our own lives when we see something to be strange or impossible, but then, by the will of God, it becomes very possible. For instance, many people in Russia thought that after the decades of state atheism and persecution of the Church, religion will cease to exist. A priest some 40 years ago could have a temptation to think just as St. Peter thought in today’s Gospel. He would think that there is not many people to work with, not much a priest could do. But Jesus inspired His followers not to give up, but to “launch into the deep”. And in some time they saw that their preaching is not in vain, that their service is needed and that the churches are not empty. The state atheism was gone, ceased to exist, and the people in the new countries emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union could freely exercise their religious beliefs”.
“Today we commemorate Venerable Chariton the Confessor. He lived in the times of persecutions of the Church and he thought that he was going to be killed as a Martyr. He was imprisoned and tortured but his life was spared. This is why we call him the Confessor, not Martyr. Then the prosecutions ceased and holy Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire. St. Chariton lived a long life after that and he became a monk in the desert. He was one of the first monks in Christian Church. He founded several monasteries, composed the monastic rules and we believe that he composed the office of the monastic tonsure. So, St. Chariton believed that he was supposed to die for Christ but the Lord had a different vision. The Lord spared him and let him become a founder of monasticism. And this is another example of how our understanding may be different from God’s plan”.
“Therefore, dear Father, dear brothers and sisters, let us trust God and His perfect vision. Let us strive for spiritual growth despite our sense of uncertainty or lack of confidence. Let us listen to what our Lord Jesus Christ is telling us to do and let us obey Him acknowledging our imperfection before Him. But let us also remember His encouraging words pronounced to St. Peter: “Do not be afraid”. Let us not be afraid if we are doing something good with the divine grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Source of help and miracles. He is the only one who may accomplish things that we may consider impossible. Through His divine power we may share in His accomplishments”.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, the Rector proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in Russian conveying the ideas of his English homily. He also congratulated Maria Malyshev on the occasion of her name day, the memory of Venerable Mary the mother of Ven. Sergius of Radonezh. Fr. Igor proclaimed the traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) on her behalf and handed her the Theotokian prosphora. Then he also made some announcements.

Following the Liturgy the Rector performed Baptism of Phoebe Ching-Huei Li who desired to be received unto the bosom of the Holy Orthodox Church. After celebrating the Mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation, the new member of the community was churched and received Holy Communion.

Sunday after the Exaltation. Celebration of the Rector’s Name Day


On October 4, on the Sunday after the Exaltation, St. George Parish family had a beautiful celebration. In addition to our Sunday, as well as the leave-taking of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebration, we also honored our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov on his past name day (October 2). On such an occasion, by the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Matthew, our church was visited by the ROCOR hierarch, His Eminence, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada.

Upon his arrival, the Archbishop was greeted at the church entrance by our Warden, Olga Russanow and our active parishioner, Olga Vnukova who presented His Eminence with the flowers and the traditional bread. Then, upon entering into the temple, the hierarch was met by the clergy and performed the entering prayers. During the reading of the Hours Archbishop Gabriel vested in the sanctuary.

Following the Hours His Eminence headed the Divine Liturgy. He was co-served by the Rector, as well as by Priest Nenad Flora, the ROCOR cleric, and Protodeacon Igor Panachev, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York. The church was well-attended by our parishioners, as well as the guests of the parish. Many faithful approached the Mystery of Confession and received Holy Communion.

Following the Ambo Prayer the Archbishop preached a homily interpreting the appointed Gospel lesson. His Eminence stressed that it is very important for every Christian to remember about bearing of the cross and following our Lord Jesus Christ. Finishing his homily he greeted the Rector, Fr. Igor Tarasov, as well as Fr. Igor Panachev on their past name day, memory of the Holy faithful Prince Igor of Chernigov and proclaimed a traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) on their behalf.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy our Rector had a speech expressing his gratitude to His Eminence for visiting our parish, for heading of the Divine Liturgy, for the prayers offered to the Lord and for his instructive sermon. Then our Warden, Olga Russanow on behalf of our parishioners congratulated the Rector on the occasion of his past name day.

At the conclusion of the service the Archbishop and the clergy venerated the Cross in the middle of the church and let the faithful approach the Cross and venerate it also. Then the Cross was solemnly taken by the Rector and carried back to the altar thus concluding the celebration of the Exaltation.

Our celebration continued on the church grounds where our wonderful cooks prepared a festal luncheon. Archbishop Gabriel, the clergy, as well as our parishioners and guests enjoyed delicious meals, a nice company and beautiful sunny weather. His Eminence raised a toast on behalf of the Fathers celebrating their name day.