Sunday of the Samaritan Woman


On May 30, on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, we had a nice liturgical celebration in our temple. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:

“Christ is risen! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Last week, on Wednesday, the Church celebrated feast of the Mid-Pentecost. It is a minor but important feast. It indicates that we are half-way from Pascha to Pentecost. The spiritual importance of that feast is that we did celebrate Christ Resurrection on Pascha and are half-way to celebration of the Descending of the Holy Spirit. We are in some process: spiritually, we had the Resurrection of the Lord on Pascha and now we are preparing to have the Holy Spirit descend on the Apostles. And today, having the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, we are reflecting upon the importance of the Holy Spirit. That thinking comes from today’s reading from the Gospel where we learn about a conversation between our Lord Jesus and a woman from Samaria”.
“Thus, today’s pretty long Gospel reading may give us a great number of ideas. Our Lord Jesus Christ discussed a number of things with the Samaritan woman beside the Jacob’s well. It would be interesting to note who are the Samaritans. These were people very close to the Jews, but they held a different belief. Although they worshiped the one and true God, they refused to honor the prophets and they recognized only the first five books of the Bible, the Law of Moses. They also claimed that the place of worship must be on Mt. Gorazin and not on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. Thus the Jews considered them heretics and strangers. We may say that Middle East is full of different religious and ethnic communities living separately. Now we are observing another conflict and hostility between the Jews and the Palestinians. Divisions and hostility are always there, in the Holy Land and it was there in the times of Jesus.”
“It should also be noted that Jesus in His conversation with the Samaritan woman does not change the Jewish opinion that Samaritans are in error. On the contrary He confirms that “salvation is of the Jews” (Jn. 4, 22). But the Lord offers both the Samaritans and the Jews a totally new approach to the faith which is His New Testament. They argued about the Old Testament and the Jews were correct in that argument, but the Son of God, the Messiah whom they both expected, came and now offered to them the new life, the new spirit, the living water”.
“Again we are speaking about the water in these days of the paschal celebration. Today’s Gospel tells us about the Jacob’s well. The wells were always important for the people as the sources of water. Especially in the Middle East, the wells and springs are significant because of their rarity in desert life. In the Scripture they often symbolize the life given by God. But the well mentioned today was primarily the source of the earthly life. Jesus, as a Man was tired and thirsty. He came to the well to get some water. In the course of the conversation with the Samaritan woman, Jesus tells her about another kind of water, the living water, that “Whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst” (Jn. 4, 14). The “living water” in the language of the Scripture means flowing water, a water from a spring rather from a pond or a cistern. In the spiritual sense it symbolizes true life from God, who is the Source of life”.
“The living water given by Jesus is the gift of the Holy Spirit which believers receive. And the Holy Spirit becomes a Fountain of water which flows with eternal life. Living water is true life from God. It is a life of faith in the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ rather than the water from the Jacob’s well, a spirit of the Old Testament. This is why it is a completely new spiritual reality. The Samaritan woman is bothered by the question where to worship God, on which mountain is the proper place of worship. The Lord tells her that “the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father”(Jn. 4, 21). The idea of worship only at a specific place is going to give way to the understanding that worship must be in spirit and in truth. Upon the completion of His mission of salvation Jesus is going to bestow the Holy Spirit. In that Spirit the true believers will worship the Father. They will worship the Father also in truth. The truth is Jesus Christ Himself and His revelation”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us then desire to live according to our spiritual call of acquiring the living water given by our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Let us be worthy of the eternal life promised by our Savior. Let us also imitate the Samaritan woman in her thirst for spiritual things, in her readiness to accept the teaching of the Lord. The Church honors her as St. Photini in Greek, or St. Svetlana in Russian. That holy woman became the Disciple of Christ. She was tortured and put to death for her faith. St. Photini’s children were also Christians and they also became the Martyrs. She moved from the Holy Land to Northern Africa where she was martyred. After tortures she was thrown into a well. See, how providential was her Christian life! She began her life in Christ by meeting Jesus Christ Himself beside the well and she ended up being thrown into a well. Dear brothers and sisters, let us therefore worship the true God the Spirit in His spirit and His truth”.

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

The choir nicely performed the Exapostilarion and the Aposticha of Pascha during the time of preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the Liturgy the Rector performed a memorial Litia requested by the Lali Sheehan. After the service Fr. Igor and parishioners enjoyed some delicious Georgian food prepared by Lali in memory of her departed family members.

Sunday of the Paralytic


On May 23, on the Sunday of the Paralytic, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov celebrated the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Christ is risen!”
“The Fourth Sunday of Pascha is devoted to the miracle of healing the paralytic. Today’s Gospel story tells us how it happened and gives us many details. It happened in Jerusalem, near the Sheep Gate. There was a double-basin pool believed to have the healing powers. It had been discovered by the archeologists about 100 yards north of the temple area. The water for this high-ground pool came from underground springs, and it was used to wash down the sacrificial lambs before they were slain. This is why it was near the Sheep Gate, the gate through which the lambs were carried to the temple. This became the place of the miraculous healing of the paralyzed man who had been sick for 38 years”.
“Pascha is the time of miracles, a time of healings. Our Lord rose from the dead in order to make us risen from spiritual death and infirmity. This is why this event which happened long before the holy Passions and Resurrection of Christ, is commemorated now when we continue our paschal celebration. In the setting of today’s story we may also recognize the image of the holy Baptism. The Church keeps reminding us of the Baptism during the Easter season. On Pascha we sung the baptismal hymn instead of “Holy God…”, on Bright Monday we read the Gospel on the baptism of St. John. Today we hear about a pool having the healing water, so everyone who enters the pool first after the stirring of water, becomes cured. It reminds us of the bath of the holy Baptism”.
“Holy Fathers recognized an image of Baptism in this story long ago. They stressed that before the actual coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the pool at the Sheep Gates was only a prefiguration, a primary image of the holy Baptism. After Jesus came, the human race was given a fulfillment of that image, a true purification, a true healing, a spiritual rebirth in the Lord”.
“Bethesda was a place of miracles. They used to happen there. But when our Lord came, He Himself appeared to the world as a Person of miracles, the real Source of them and a perfect Worker of the miracles. At the Sheep Gate pool only one person could be healed at one time. Whoever could step in the water first after the stirring would be made well. Now, in Jesus and in His Baptism, the grace of God is working for everyone and at any time. We further notice that the miracles of healing at that pool happened due to the action of an angel. An angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred the water, so it became healing. Now, in Christ there is no angelic mediation. Our Lord Himself comes down to the pool of our Baptism to give the birth of the new person in Him. Finally, the water of Bethesda used to grant only physical and temporal well-being. It cured the body. The grace of the risen Lord grants spiritual and eternal well-being which begins with Baptism”.
“In addition, we may recall that the paralytic could not step into the pool without any help from others. Because of his condition he was not able to move and to get to the pool. He told the Lord, “I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me” (Jn. 5, 7). The whole human race suffered in a similar way. It was spiritually paralyzed by the fall, and no one could help. No man could save humanity. Only God Himself could do it. And He did it by becoming Man. The paralytic had no man to put him into the pool, but God and Man, Jesus Christ did heal him without even putting into the pool. Therefore, we should appreciate the gift of divine grace given to us through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
“Today we also celebrate feast of the Holy Apostle Simon the Zealot. He was one of the 12 Apostles, and he is famous for believing in Christ after the first miracle Jesus had performed. It happened in Cana of Galilee where Jesus and His Blessed Mother were invited to a wedding. At that wedding our Lord turned water into wine. The tradition says that the groom at that wedding was Holy Apostle Simon. This is why he is also known as Simon the Canaanite. Seeing that miracle he changed his life, followed Christ and left even his newly-wedded wife. For his zeal in faith he was called the Zealot, so we may say that for sure, he was not spiritually paralyzed but very much alive. But his spiritual ability and his zeal were not just his own achievements but they were due to God’s help. First it was due to the first miracle of Christ in Cana; then it was due to God’s grace which led this Holy Apostle throughout his life in Christ”.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us continue to rejoice in the Resurrection of the Lord with an understanding that we are reborn, washed up and granted an eternal life in the holy Baptism that makes us similar to the image of the Lord who died and was risen from the dead”.

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

The choir prayerfully performed the Exapostilarion and the Aposticha of Pascha during the time of preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy Fr. Igor congratulated our new parishioner Nicholas on his past name day celebrated on May 22. The Rector proclaimed traditional Polychronion on his behalf and handed him the Theotokian prosphora.

Following the Liturgy the Rector performed a memorial Litia requested by the Malyshev family.

Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women

On May 16, on the Sunday of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women, we had a beautiful service at St. George Church. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov celebrated the Divine Liturgy. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily:

“Christ is risen! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! On this Third Sunday of Pascha we honor the female disciples of Christ, the holy Myrrh-bearing Women. Therefore, today’s feast should be considered the “Orthodox women’s day”. Thus our conversation today will be about women”.
“It is common today among the enemies of faith to criticize Christianity and the Church for degrading women. But let us examine the Scripture and the history of salvation and we will see that women in Christianity are really honored and respected very much. From the very beginning of the preaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, many women listened to His holy appeal to repentance, love and forgiveness. The teaching and words of Christ found a warm response in the women’s hearts. The Gospel tells us about women following Jesus, serving Him and the Apostles, about women seeking His help, about women repenting for their sins”.
“It should be noticed that we find no woman among the enemies of Christ. The people who hated Jesus, who condemned Him, those who plated the crown of thorns, those who crucified Him – they all were men. But, on the other hand, even the wife of Pilate raised her voice to defend Jesus. When our Lord was dying on the cross, no Apostles (except St. John the Theologian) were near Him. They all scattered and hid themselves. However, the women disciples remained faithful to Him along with His Most Holy Mother. In contrast to the scared and scattered Apostles, the Myrrh-bearing Women came to the Lord’s tomb to anoint His body with the spices. They courageously sought to fulfill the burial custom, but they also expressed the great love and devotion for Jesus, the qualities typical to the true heart of a woman. And we read in today’s Gospel that the Myrrh-bearing Women were rewarded by the honor of being the first witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ. The tradition holds that the risen Lord first appeared to His Most Holy Mother, while the Scripture says that the first appearance was to the Myrrh-bearing Women. In both instances the honor of seeing the risen Christ was given to the women”.
“The history of Christianity, beginning from the time of the New Testament and continuing in the history of every Christian country gives us a lot of examples of the holy women, women who endured the martyrdom for their heavenly Bridegroom – Jesus Christ; women who renounced the world and saved their souls in the desert; women who preached the Christian faith to the whole nations. These are those whom we remember by name. But there were a multitude of those unknown who kept their faith, raised their children in the spirit of piety and purity, taught them to pray and to worship God. Although they did not build the hand-made temples, they did create the domestic churches in their families and lit the light of faith in the souls of their children”.
“Love and care are those main feelings that God instilled in every woman’s heart. God called the woman to fulfill a task no man can fulfill – to be a mother. She is called to give life And a Christian woman and mother is also called to create spiritual life. The way a priest serves in the altar, a Christian mother should act in the soul of a child. She creates life, thus by her loving and devout heart she is called to elevate such life of her child to the holiness. Therefore, let us see how the Orthodox Christianity honors women. Let us honor today the holy Myrrh-bearing Women, as well as all holy Christian women, all Christian mothers and pray the Lord that He may bless them with the grace to be loving, caring, faithful and courageous in their life of faith, in their endeavors of motherhood and in their striving for salvation”.  

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

The choir prayerfully performed the Aposticha of Pascha during the time of preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector congratulated our ladies on the occasion of this Sunday which is the Orthodox Women’s day. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed. Then Fr. Igor also greeted Tamara Gusnezow on the occasion of her past name day, proclaiming a Polychronion on her behalf and handing her the Theotokian prosphora.

After the Liturgy the Rector performed a memorial Litia commemorating a year of falling asleep of Claudia Popescu.

Antipascha. Sunday of St. Thomas


On May 9, on the Sunday of Antipascha, also known as Sunday of St. Thomas, we had a nice service at St. George Church. Our Rector, 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! One week after Pascha we celebrate Sunday of St. Thomas. It is a feast to commemorate a wonderful moment in the life of that disciple of Christ – the moment of recognizing his Lord and his God, Jesus Christ. The icon picturing that moment is called “The Recognition”. The Gospel story of that had been read today. Thomas refused to believe in Christ’s Resurrection until Jesus appeared to him and offered to touch His risen Body, to put a finger into the print of the nails, to reach the hand and to put it into Jesus’ side. At that moment Thomas recognized Jesus and professed Him to be his Lord and his God”.
“St. Thomas required proof of Christ’s Resurrection. It happens very often that people want to see the proof of things coming from God, of things of a supernatural nature. Those things are hard or impossible to reach using our human mind, our human knowledge or our human senses. They require us to have faith. Therefore, they may not be proved if we rely only on our reason, knowledge or senses. Many people refuse to believe in God or in other things revealed by God without proof. They say, “Show me, prove it to me and I will believe!” But they do not want to believe. They want to know. These are different things. Faith is not knowledge. Faith is a special state of our soul which allows us to accept things our mind refuses to accept. Faith is beyond the reason, it is above the reason. This is why it is so precious and valuable”.
“When we read different Gospel stories of the great miracles Jesus performed, we notice that very often He stresses the importance of faith for those who are being saved, cured or delivered from evil. Several times we hear from the Lord: “Your faith had saved you…” The Lord desires to act through our faith. He wishes our participation, our cooperation, our response to His miraculous power. You need to have faith in order to be saved. And you need to have faith if you wish that the Lord’s power would act upon you”.
“In some comedy movie a minister preached about faith and said: “If I don’t see my eye brows, it doesn’t mean they are not there, above my eyes. Thus if I don’t see God, it doesn’t mean He is not above me.” It could be meant as a joke about religion. But it makes sense. How can we claim that something is not real, only because we are unable to see it? How can we say that something is not true if we are unable to see our own eye brows? Well, we may touch our eye brows and know that they are there. But our knowledge will be limited. In order to see them, we would need a mirror. We may see them only in our reflection”.
“Comparing this to our today’s celebration of St. Thomas Sunday, we should admit that if we use only our human senses, it would be impossible to prove that God exists, that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Son of Man, that He was truly risen from the dead, and that the whole our religion has a value. All these things are above our human understanding. But if we have faith, if we use it, God will open our eyes and show us Himself. St. Thomas required proof, but when Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him, he stopped requiring, he simply recognized His Lord and His God. Jesus Christ is that mirror that may show us God. He became Man, became our reflection in order to show us the reflection of God, to reveal us God who is invisible and beyond our comprehension. Through faith in Jesus Christ God will reveal Himself to us. And we will be able to recognize Him and to exclaim with St. Thomas: “My Lord and my God!”

The choir beautifully performed the Apostichas of St. Thomas Sunday during preparation for Holy Communion.

Since we did not hold a service on Bright Saturday when the Paschal blessed bread, called the Artos is usually distributed, the Rector proclaimed the prayer for the breaking of the Artos following the Ambo prayer.

Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector expressed his gratitude to the parishioners for their work in preparation and celebration of the Patronal feast of St. George. Then he congratulated our ladies on the occasion of the Mother’s Day proclaiming the traditional Polychronion to them. He also made some announcements. Finally, the Rector distributed the Artos among the parishioners.

Our Parish Patronal Feast of St. George


On Thursday, May 6, 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.

This year our festal celebration was headed by His Eminence, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada (ROCOR) who visited us by the blessing of the Interim Administrator of our Parishes, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh. Upon the arrival of His Eminence he was greeted by our Parish Warden Olga Roussanow at the entrance to the temple. Archbishop Gabriel entered the church where he was met by the Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov.

During the singing of the Third Paschal Hour the Archbishop was vesting in the altar. Then the Divine Liturgy had begun. It was concelebrated by our Rector, as well as by Protodeacon Igor Panachev, cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral.

Following the Liturgy dismissal the Archbishop 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. Archbishop Gabriel also proclaimed a prayer to St. George.

At the end of the Liturgy His Eminence preached a homily regarding continuous celebration of Pascha which this year coincided with the feast of St. George. He also congratulated the Rector and parishioners on the joyful Patronal feast of the parish. As a response to the Archbishop’s speech Archpriest Igor Tarasov greeted His Grace in our temple.

After the liturgical service the celebration of our Patronal feast continued at the picnic held on the church grounds where His Eminence, the clergy, our parishioners and guests together enjoyed very delicious food and a nice company.



On May 2 of this year 2021 all Orthodox Christians celebrated the greatest holy day, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Pascha.

Celebration at St. George Church began before midnight on Saturday, May 1. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov performed Midnight service at the Lord’s Tomb and transferred the holy Shroud to the altar.

Soon after midnight joyful Paschal celebration began. The Rector assisted by the altar servers led 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”. Faithful responded and sung Paschal troparion. Then the priest opened the doors of the temple and faithful entered into the church.

After the Matins the Rector served the Divine Liturgy. The Gospel lesson on Pascha is traditionally read in several languages. The faithful had an opportunity to listen the verses of the reading in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Church Slavonic, English, Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Romanian, Belorussian, Polish and Spanish. Following the Gospel reading Fr. Igor proclaimed Catechetical Sermon of St. John Chrysostom on Pascha. Following the Ambo prayer he also performed a blessing of the special Paschal Bread called Artos.

After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector greeted the parishioners on the occasion of the greatest Christian holy day assuring them that in any difficult and troublesome times like today’s God has always the last word and His goodness and love will always prevail.

Following main services the Rector blessed Easter food.

Rector and parishioners continued their celebration of Pascha at the table where they had an opportunity to enjoy delicious meals after the long time of fasting.

Holy and Great Friday


On April 30, on the Holy and Great Friday we had two special services in our parish temple. This day is the most sorrowful day in Christian calendar. On Holy Friday we commemorate crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, His death on the Cross, as well as His burial. St. George Church’s Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served Vespers with the procession of the Shroud at 4:00 PM.

After the Scripture readings concluded with the Gospel lesson about the Holy Passions of Christ the Rector preached the following homily:

“This day called Good Friday, or, as it is written in our calendars and books, Holy and Great Friday, – this day is the day of universal sorrow. Today we remember how our Lord Jesus Christ was condemned to death, how He was crucified and how He died on the Cross”.
“The Gospel reading told us that story in details. Some of us may say that if we were there, near Christ in Jerusalem, we would never join those who condemned and crucified Him. But let us think about that and let us be honest: it’s not just those people, namely the Jews, crucified Christ. He was crucified by human sin, by the evil in the hearts of men. As we were saying two days ago, on Great Wednesday, that every person is capable of being like Judas who betrayed Christ, we may say today that everyone is capable of crucifying Christ”.
“God so loved the world…” - says the Gospel (Jn. 3, 16). Yes, God loved the world He created and God loved the human kind. And He willingly accepted death on the Cross for the human kind. All of us are involved in God’s love: God loves all of us and each one of us. But jus as we are personally involved in God’s love, so we are personally involved in His crucifixion. If anyone says, “I am not like those who crucified Him”, we are forgetting that “they” did not crucify Him, sin did, human evil did. “They” were our representatives, our ambassadors, that day at the court of Satan. Our sin empowered them with the right to crucify. We are personally involved in God’s crucifixion, as well as in His love”.
“Today we are not merely acting out the last events in the life of Jesus during our Good Friday services in the Church. The actual events are made present again mystically by the Holy Spirit, so that we may participate in them. Today we are present at Golgotha, at the very place where the body of Jesus was nailed to the Cross. We are present when the body was removed from the Cross. Tonight we will be present before the Tomb of Christ as we sing the praises of His death. We are literally immersed into the love and passion of Christ by all today’s events. We should experience each nail, each lash, each cry, each thorn. God works on us every year through the events of Holy Week, to awaken us, to effect a change on us, to evoke a response from us, to lead us to repentance, to help us make the sacrifice of Jesus the center of our life. How many Good Fridays have to go by before we come to experience personally God’s love for us? How many times Christ have to die before we come to our senses and realize that life is to be lived in Christ and for Christ?”
“Years ago instead of delivering a sermon on Good Friday, a preacher went to the altar. Silently he took a candle and held it up to crucifix, to the thorn-covered head, to the feet locked with nail, to the wounded side and the rent hands. Then he turned to the people and said, “This is what God has done for you!” And we may add, “This is what we, the people, have done for God!””
“God so loved the world…”. Can you be indifferent to that? Can you shrug your shoulders at that? Can you say you are not personally involved? You can. But then you should remember the words of the Scripture: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebr. 2, 3).”

At the end of this service holy Shroud had been solemnly carried out from the altar to the middle of the church and placed there for veneration.

At 7:00 PM the Rector celebrated Matins on the Lord’s Tomb. Most of this service was performed before the Shroud placed in the middle of the church. After the Great Doxologion the Rector, altar servers and parishioners performed the procession around the church. The priest carried the holy Shroud resembling burial of the Lord.