Meetfare Sunday


On February 27, on the Meetfare Sunday, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! This is a disturbing time. The war started in the old country. And in that time we came to the temple to celebrate another disturbing moment, the future Last Judgment. Today is Meetfare Sunday on which we commemorate the end of this world, we reflect upon something which is going to occur at the Second Coming of Christ. Many evil things had happened in the course of human history. Many evil things continue to occur. But at some pint in the future, this world will definitely end. Our Lord Jesus Christ will come in His glory to judge the living and the dead. Today’s Gospel lesson describes that Judgment in a very clear and impressive way (Mt. 25, 31-46). The outcome of that event will be very serious and harsh: some will be blessed and permitted to enter the Kingdom of Heaven while the others will be condemned to eternal torment”.
“Reflecting upon that future that, according to our faith, is certainly awaiting us, let us learn from the words of the Holy Gospel, from the words of the Savior. And His words clearly teach us that we may be saved by performing the works of love – feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, taking in a stranger, clothing a naked, visiting a sick or a prisoner. And, on the contrary, we won’t be saved if we fail to perform those good works”.
“Dear brothers and sisters, take a heed: Jesus Christ is speaking in a positive way. He does not say that eternal punishment awaits those who did some terrible things – murder, stealing, adultery. Of course, grave sinners may deserve it – that’s for sure. But in today’s Gospel the Lord does not speak about that. He speaks of eternal blessedness for those who do the works of love and mercy. They will join Him in His Kingdom. Then He says that if we lack those deeds, we won’t be worthy to be with Him in eternal life”.
“Many people tend to think that there exist good and evil in the world. They think that both good and evil are equally real and strong. I recently heard that idea from a political leader who is now conducting the war. Such an opinion is erroneous. A number of heresies and false philosophical doctrines stated that. But we, Christians, do not believe in that. We are now talking about Christian philosophy; and usually philosophy is understood as some very sophisticated thing, uneasy to grasp. But our Christian philosophy is, in fact, simple. We believe in God who created the world to be good. And all evil things happening in the world are not really existing. They are real and troublesome, however they lack independent being. If we sin, we lack love or any other virtue. If we do not help the needy, we lack love and mercy – that’s how the evil enters into our life. If we fail to perform the works of love, we multiply evil in the world. Therefore at the end of the world, when our Lord will come to judge us, we will lack salvation”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Our unworthiness to be with Jesus in paradise will be the outcome of our own lack of love or other virtue. We ourselves will choose that destiny for ourselves refusing to fill our life with the love of Christ. It won’t happen because God is so harsh to judge the sinners or because hell does exist. The Muslims believe that if hell exists, then it has to be filled. No! Hell, all those eternal punishments would not exist at all, if we were not lacking virtues, not lacking love and mercy. But it does exist because of our failure to persist in goodness. And the devil himself, whom we call the evil one, is the prince of darkness and of the universal evil because he, being first created as a bright Angel, made a choice to be against God and to renounce His love”.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us make haste to perform the works of love and mercy to prepare for the day of the Last Judgment. Let us remember that on that day all of us will stand before the Lord, and our performance will be appraised. If we attempt to fill our life with good deeds, we may be saved, blessed and invited to eternal life with the Son of God. But if we fail and lack the works of Christian love, we may be rejected and condemned. But again, that condemnation will take place because of our own disposition and attitude. Thus, let us live our lives in such a way that Merciful Lord and the Judge most just number us among the sheep at His right hand and lead us into life everlasting!”

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication the Rector had a petition for the suffering country of Ukraine and its people, as well as a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.

Since there were no services for the departed performed on Meatfare Memorial Saturday, the Rector added the Litany for the deceased to the Liturgy with commemoration of those who had fallen asleep.

At the Great Entrance the Rector added a commemoration of the “suffering Ukrainian country”.

The choir prayerfully performed the Psalm 136, “Down the rivers of Babylon” during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector briefly addressed the parishioners with a heartfelt request to pray for Ukraine and for the end of war. Then he made some announcements regarding today’s commemoration of the deceased, about the following compact week of Maslenitsa and our Blini luncheon planned for the next Sunday. He also called the parishioners for more active participation in all our parish events.

Following the service of the Liturgy the Rector performed the memorial Litia requested by one of the new parishioners.

Statement of His Holiness, Patriarch KIRILL on War in Ukraine

Your Beatitude! Your Eminences and Graces! Dear fathers, brothers, and sisters!

I take the suffering of people caused by the events taking place with deep and heartfelt pain.
As the Patriarch of All Russia and the primate of a Church whose flock is located in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries, I deeply empathize with everyone affected by this tragedy.
I call on all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
I appeal to the bishops, pastors, monastics, and laity to provide all possible assistance to all victims, including refugees and people left homeless and without means of livelihood.
The Russian and Ukrainian peoples have a common centuries-old history dating back to the Baptism of Rus’ by Prince St. Vladimir the Equal-to-the-Apostles. I believe that this God-given affinity will help overcome the divisions and disagreements that have arisen that have led to the current conflict.
I call on the entire fullness of the Russian Orthodox Church to offer a special, fervent prayer for the speedy restoration of peace.
May the All-merciful Lord, through the intercession of our Most Pure Lady the Theotokos and all the saints, preserve the Russian, Ukrainian, and other peoples who are spiritually united by our Church!



Ваше Блаженство! Ваши Высокопреосвященства и Преосвященства! Дорогие отцы, братья и сестры!

С глубокой и сердечной болью воспринимаю страдания людей, вызванные происходящими событиями.
Как Патриарх всея Руси и Предстоятель Церкви, паства которой находится в России, Украине и в других странах, глубоко сопереживаю всем, кого коснулась беда.
Призываю все стороны конфликта сделать всё возможное, чтобы избежать жертв среди мирных жителей.
Обращаюсь к архиереям, пастырям, монашествующим и мирянам с призывом оказывать всемерную помощь всем пострадавшим, включая беженцев, людей, оставшихся без крова и средств к существованию.
Русский и украинский народы имеют общую многовековую историю, восходящую к Крещению Руси святым равноапостольным князем Владимиром. Верю, что эта дарованная Богом общность поможет преодолеть возникшие разделения и противоречия, приведшие к нынешнему конфликту.
Призываю всю полноту Русской Православной Церкви возносить сугубую, горячую молитву о скорейшем восстановлении мира.
Всемилостивый Господь предстательством Пречистой Владычицы нашей Богородицы и всех святых да сохранит русский, украинский и другие народы, которые духовно объединяет наша Церковь!


His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev addressed his Ukrainian flock

of His Beatitude, ONUPHRY, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine

 To the faithful and citizens of Ukraine,

Dear brothers and sisters! Faithful to our Ukrainian Orthodox Church!
As the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I address you and all citizens of Ukraine. A disaster has happened. Unfortunately, Russia has launched military operations against Ukraine, and at this fateful time I urge you not to panic, be courageous and to show love for your Motherland and for each other. I urge you, first of all, to intensify repentant prayer for Ukraine, for our army and our people, I ask you to forget mutual strife and misunderstandings and unite in love for God and our Motherland.
In this tragic time, we express our special love and support to our soldiers who stand guard and protect and defend our land and our people. May God bless and keep them!
Defending the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine, we appeal to the President of Russia and ask him to immediately stop the fratricidal war. The Ukrainian and Russian peoples came out of the Dnieper baptismal font, and the war between these peoples is a repetition of the sin of Cain, who out of envy killed his own brother. Such a war is not justified either by God or by people.
I call on everyone to common sense, which teaches us to solve our earthly problems in mutual dialogue and mutual understanding, and I sincerely hope that God will forgive us our sins and God’s peace will reign on our earth and throughout the world!
Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine
Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Блаженнейшего Митрополита Киевского и всея Украины Онуфрия
к верным и гражданам Украины

Дорогие братья и сестры! Верные нашей Украинской Православной Церкви!

Как Предстоятель Украинской Православной Церкви обращаюсь к вам и ко всем гражданам Украины. Случилась беда. К величайшему сожалению, Россия начала военные действия против Украины, и в это судьбоносное время призываю вас не впадать в панику, быть мужественными и проявить любовь к своей Родине и друг к другу. Призываю вас, прежде всего, к усиленной покаянной молитве за Украину, за наше войско и наш народ, прошу забыть взаимные распри и недоразумения и объединиться любовью к Богу и нашей Родине.

В это трагическое время мы выражаем особую любовь и поддержку нашим воинам, стоящим на страже и оберегающим и защищающим нашу землю и наш народ. Пусть Бог их благословит и хранит!

Отстаивая суверенитет и целостность Украины, мы обращаемся к Президенту России и просим немедленно прекратить братоубийственную войну. Украинский и русский народы вышли из Днепровской купели крещения, и война между этими народами – это повторение греха Каина, который из зависти убил своего родного брата. Такая война не имеет оправдания ни у Бога, ни у людей.

Призываю всех к здравому смыслу, который учит нас решать свои земные проблемы во взаимном диалоге и взаимном понимании, и искренне надеюсь, что Бог простит нам наши грехи и мир Божий воцарится на нашей земле и во всем мiре!

Митрополит Киевский и всея Украины
Предстоятель Украинской Православной Церкви


Please, Pray for Ukraine!

Dear brothers and sisters!
Dear parishioners and friends of St. George!

I ask you to offer your fervent prayers for Ukraine, the country originated from the common Dnieper Font of the Baptism of all the Russian Orthodox Church!
That country is presently under military attack from the neighboring state of Russian Federation. The war came to the blessed city of Kiev and to the lands of Rus’.
As your pastor, I ask you for your prayers for peace and for the end of that fratricidal war!
I also ask you, while you will be in our temple, to refrain from any political discussions regarding these sorrowful events, as well as from publicly taking sides with any of the parties fighting in that war. Our parish consists of the people of different ethnic backgrounds and political views, so let us not be divided. But we have to be united by Holy Orthodox faith and by desire to see peace on the lands of historical Holy Rus’.


Дорогие братия и сестры!
Дорогие прихожане и друзья церкви святого Георгия!

Призываю вас вознести горячие молитвы за Украину, страну происходящую из общей Днепровской купели Крещения для всей Русской Православной Церкви!
Эта страна сейчас подвергается военному нападению соседнего государства, Российской Федерации. Война пришла в благословенный город Киев и на земли Руси.
Как ваш пастырь, я прошу вас молиться о мире и об окончании этой братоубийственной войны!
Я также прошу вас, когда вы будете в нашем храме, воздерживаться от политических дискуссий по поводу этих скорбных событий, а также от выражения поддержки какой-либо стороны, воюющей в данном конфликте. Наш приход состоит из людей различного национального происхождения и различных политических взглядов, а поэтому да не будет у нас разделения. Но мы должны быть едины в нашей Святой Православной вере и в нашем желании мира на землях исторической Святой Руси.


2022 Annual Parish Meeting


The Annual Parish Meeting of St. George Church was held on Sunday, February 20, 2022, following the Divine Liturgy. Parish Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov presided.

Church Warden, Olga Roussanow read the minutes of the last Annual Meeting held in 2021.

The Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov had a speech. He first spoke about our spiritual state. The Rector mentioned that during the last year our parish grew acquiring 4 new members, most of whom converted to the Orthodox faith. Our attendance increased and despite difficult times of the pandemic we made certain progress.

Secondly, the Rector reported on financial situation. He stressed that in the last year our parish did well receiving some generous donations. Despite our challenges, parish revenue was relatively high. Most of the donations were given by some generous parishioners (like Tamara Gusnezow and Emilian Suric) and fiends of St. George (like Stelios Tatsis). Others were also supporting the church, perhaps not so noticeably. However, it is known that some of the parishioners offered their time, labor and assistance in performing different parish activities, for which we all should be grateful.

Our expenses increased. Partially it was due to the fact that last year we had to incur certain unexpected spendings, like removal of the fallen tree on the church property. Partially, the removal was covered by Emilian Suric who also organized the work, but the parish had to pay also.

After accepting the financial report, the Rector and parishioners discussed the work of the parish lay activists. While the performance and dedication of our parish Warden and Sacristan were noted and commended, the performance of the Treasurer was discussed with some criticism. After certain remarks and suggestions, the parish Treasurer assured the Rector and parishioners that he will pay closer attention to the matters discussed. It also had been decided that the duties of the Treasurer will be adjusted, so he will be assisted in his work.

Having discussed some other matters the meeting was adjourned.

Sunday of the Prodigal Son


On February 20, on the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, St. George parish had a beautiful celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov headed the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he delivered the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! On this Sunday the Church tells the parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15, 11-32). It is a very profound and detailed instruction on repentance. Last Sunday we began to sing, “The doors of repentance open to me, o Giver of life”. It is important to remember about repentance these days. Last week we also celebrated feast of the Meeting. It reminded us about our spiritual destiny – to meet our Lord and God. Today’s parable is also about a meeting, the meeting between the Prodigal Son and his merciful Father. But today we may also talk about some other idea of today’s parable. It is about the Father who had two sons. Let us ask, “Who is the Father and who are the two sons in that parable?”.
The Father represents God the Father, the Father of all mankind. The older son represents the Jewish people because alone of all people they knew the true God. They remained with the Father. They kept the memory of God having the Bible, the book describing God’s creation, the fall of mankind and telling that God will save His people, will send the Messiah. If we again recall feast of the Meeting, we may remember that holy elder Simeon who encountered Child Jesus in the Temple, recognized that Messiah in Him and proclaimed that this Child will be the glory of God’s people, Israel (Lk. 2, 32). So, the older son represents the chosen Jewish people”.
On the other hand, the younger son represents the Gentiles, that is the pagan world. At the time of Christ, this meant the whole world except for the Jews. Unlike the Jews, the pagans had confused their memories of God the Creator with all sorts of false stories, myths and legends. They had confused the Creator with creation, and instead of worshiping God, they worshiped stones and rivers, the sun and the moon, kings and queens, thinking that they were gods and so making them into idols. The pagans, the younger son, had journeyed into “a far country” and there “wasted their possessions” (Lk. 15, 13). In other words, they distanced themselves from God, forgot His Truth, so wasting their spiritual inheritance. As a result, they suffered from “a severe famine”, in other words, from spiritual hunger, and so ate with “swine”, that is, ate with the illusions of the demons. However, they repented and turned back towards the Father, who welcomed them with open arms, running out towards them to embrace them”.
And again recalling feast of the Meeting, we should remember that holy Jewish elder Simeon proclaimed that the Child Jesus, the Messiah will be “a light to bring revelation for the Gentiles” (Lk. 2, 31)”
This parable is in fact a warning to the Jews. We can see the Father showing love and forgiveness towards the repentant son, who lies at His feet, begging forgiveness. The older son, however, is angry, full of bitterness and jealousy”.
Perhaps we feel some sympathy with the older son. After all, he never wasted his possessions, he did remain loyal to the Father. The problem is that the older son’s service was a form of slavery; he did not stay with the Father out of love, but out of self-interest, in expectation of a reward. This was not love, but an obligation fulfilled in the hope of being paid. We can compare this with the attitude of the Father. He instantly forgives all that the younger son, the pagan world, has done and says: “Let us… be merry” (Lk. 15, 23). The attitude of the Father is not gloom, but joy. The older son, on the other hand, is full of gloom and cannot bring himself to be joyful or express love, because he has no love for his brother. The Father says: “All that I have is yours” (Lk. 15, 31), and shares everything. The older son wishes to share nothing, for he is locked up in pride and self-love. Indeed, the older son does not want to share in all that the Father has. He does want to share in His wealth and His property, but he does not want to share in what the Father has above all else – in His compassion and merciful love”.
Thus, dear brothers and sisters, we are reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, that though we may have all qualities, if we do not have love, then we are nothing (1 Cor. 13, 1-3). In this way, this parable has a meaning for us. We may have great wealth, wonderful gifts or talents, we may have a great profession, we may have a high position and a great power, but if we have no love, then all what we have is worthless. Then our lives themselves have no meaning. If there is no love, there is only the emptiness of vanity and the gloom of selfish pride”.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us not imitate the older son from today’s parable, but let us learn from the merciful Father. Let us too be merry, for God the Father Most Compassionate and Merciful is waiting for us, prodigal children. Let us rejoice, for Jesus, the Lord of Love rejoices even out of the greatest sinner who repents. Let us be glad that all we prodigals are able to return to the Father and be embraced by His love!”

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

During preparation for Holy Communion the choir prayerfully performed hymns from the Lenten Triodion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector made some announcements. Then he greeted Richard Beltran on the occasion of his name day. Fr. Igor wished our recently joined parishioner all divine blessings, fervent intercession of his patron Saint and many years. Traditional Polychronion was proclaimed and the Theotokian prosphora was handed.

After the Liturgy the Rector performed the Memorial Litia requested by Malyshev family.

Following all the services the Rector and parishioners continued their interaction during coffee hour. Then our Annual Parish Meeting was held right after that.

Meeting of the Lord


On February 15 the Orthodox Church celebrates great feast of the Meeting of the Lord. On that day we had a nice celebration at St. George Church. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov performed the Divine Liturgy.. Following the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate great holy day of the Meeting, or Encounter of the Lord. The Epistle lesson assigned for this feast is telling us about the great difference between the Old Testament priesthood and the priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the event of the Meeting of the Lord we see that Jesus being an infant was presented in the Temple of Jerusalem. By doing this His holy parents fulfilled the command of the Law of Moses. Since Jesus was the first-born Son of His Mother, according to the Old Testament law He had to be offered to God. His parents had to come to Jerusalem, to the holy Temple and to perform a ritual, a sacrifice for Him. This was one of the many commands of the Old Testament law. Other commands anticipated that certain people, only from the tribe of Levi, called the Levites, could be the servers at the altar of the Temple. All the priests and servants of the Lord had to be the heirs of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Thus, there was a special priestly cast among the Jews of old”.
When our Lord Jesus Christ came into the world, He was born to the family which was not the heirs of Aaron. The Blessed Mother of God and Her spouse St. Joseph were from the tribe of Judah. No one from their tribe could be a priest in the Temple. But we all know that our Lord exercised a power of a priest. He did it by offering Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind when He voluntarily agreed to suffer and die for us. His Holy Passions and His death became a redemptive sacrifice for all of us. Jesus is our High Priest who entered the Holy of the Holies, not of the physical and earthly Temple, but mystically, sacrificing His own blood before God the Father. We may also add that He Himself established the Holy Sacraments, performed the first Divine Liturgy at the Last Supper. Jesus is our High Priest, the highest priest of the New Testament”.
The contrast between priesthood of the Old Testament and the priesthood of Jesus Christ is described in today’s Epistle lesson. St. Paul teaches that Jesus’ priesthood is “according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb. 7, 17). The latter was a mysterious figure in the Old Testament. He appears in the book of Genesis as a priest of the High God, and at the same time as the king of Salem (meaning the king of peace). He meets Abraham, then offers the sacrifice of bread and wine, then he blesses Abraham. Abraham is giving him one tenth of his possessions, the tithes (Gen. 14, 18-20). Nothing else is said about this figure. He has no relatives, his birth or death is not mentioned in the Scripture. But we see that he was considered superior to Abraham and to his heirs”.
Since the Old Testament priesthood of the Temple was limited to the special cast, to the heirs of Aaron, it inferior to the priesthood of Melchizedek. And the priesthood of Christ is like such priesthood. As Melchizedek had no earthly genealogy, so is Christ because He was born of a Virgin. Because He is God who became Man, His priesthood can really change the mankind. At that point, the Old Testament priesthood consisted of mere men, thus it could not really transform mortal and corrupt humanity. Sacrifices of the Levitical priests had to be repeated while the sacrifice of Christ was offered once and for all”.
St. Paul also convinces the Hebrews that since Abraham met Melchizedek long before the Temple priesthood was established, then the priesthood of Melchizedek is superior to the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7, 9-11). Jesus arose as a priest according to the order of Melchizedek when He obeyed the law of Moses, but being God, He also transcended the law and established His eternal priesthood”.
This is why, dear brothers and sisters, celebrating feast of the Meeting of the Lord we are instructed by St. Paul that the ritual performed over the Infant Jesus in the Temple, as well as all other events of this glorious holy day – all these actions show that the new and eternal High Priest, a priest according to the highest order appeared in Jesus Christ. He was born, He was circumcised, He was presented in the Temple. By this He showed His obedience to the law of Moses. But He went further by His death for us. So, He became our High Priest who could make all of us redeemed by His holy and unique sacrifice”.

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 festal hymns of the Meeting during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal the Rector greeted the faithful on the great feast.

Because it was a working weekday, not too many parishioners came to the temple but the service was attended by Deacon Matthew Keil from the ROCOR Synodal Cathedral along with his big family.

Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee


On February 13, on the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the readings from the Sacred Scripture he preached the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters of Christ! Today’s reading from the Gospel tells us a parable about two men who went up to the Temple to pray. One of them, who was a public sinner, went home justified. Yet another who was viewed as a just man was condemned. Why? It happened because of their attitudes: the publican had the right attitude. He was asking God for mercy in repentance for his sins of which he was aware. On the other hand, the Pharisee had the wrong attitude. He was not asking for mercy. On the contrary, he was proud and satisfied with himself. He was under the illusion of being righteous. And he had this illusion only because he fulfilled all the outward observances of his religion. His piety was all for show, it was all outward and did not come from his heart. We may say that the Pharisee did the right things, but he did them for all the wrong reasons. Thus, his works were in vain”.
The error of the Pharisee was to confuse the means with the ends. Our end, or goal, is to find salvation. There are many means to salvation. These means are prayer, fasting, giving alms, receiving the Sacraments, being helpful to other people. However, we should not think that those means to salvation automatically save us, merely because they are outwardly observed”.
The outwardly observance by itself is necessary. We have to worship God outwardly, not just in our hearts. Moreover, we can worship and pray to God everywhere, but there is one place where we can be particularly close to Him, and where it is easier to speak to Him in prayer. Such place is the holy temple. Only in the temple we have the divine services and most of the Holy Mysteries. Nowadays because of the pandemic many churches were closed for some time and held their services remotely, online. That damaged people’s piety and lowered people’s participation in the services. In the communities that practiced such worship for a relatively long time, many parishioners did not return to the church when their church was reopened. Thank God, many our Orthodox churches did not follow that way and became opened as soon as possible. Yes, you can pray anywhere, you can listen to the divine services on TV or online but it will never substitute your real, physical presence in the holy temple and your real participation in the services. Some progressive pastors and church leaders, even among some Orthodox, even discussed a possibility to partake of the Sacraments online. They permitted to discuss the option to receive Holy Communion remotely. Of course, it is a very wrong thinking”.
Dear brothers and sisters, today’s Gospel reminds us that the best place for prayer and worship is the holy temple. Both a sinful publican and a seemingly righteous Pharisee came there to offer their different prayers. Therefore, let us not withdraw from the holy church, from the place of grace and blessing”.
It is though anticipated that many people may say that by attending the church we do the outward observance, just like the Pharisee. During my life I heard a lot of people saying that going to church is not making you a good person, that many of those who attend the church are not so nice in their lives. Thus, we are often accused of being like that Pharisee from today’s parable. It may be true: some people could be like that. But it does not make the holy temple needless. It does not make the Sacraments unnecessary. It does not make the divine grace flowing from the Holy Church a waste. Again, the error of the Pharisee was to confuse those blessed means with the sacred goals. We have to come to church and participate in divine worship with a believing and willing heart, not just outwardly or automatically”.
The publican had a right attitude because he was sincere in his repentance. His error was in his sins and his lifestyle. But since he was aware of his unworthiness, he was blessed by God”.
Dear brothers and sisters! Learning from today’s Gospel parable, let us imitate the publican in his repentance and his inner humility and faith. Let us avoid the proud and self-deceptive attitude of the Pharisee. However, let us resemble that Pharisee in his outwardly actions – in his prayers, fasting, giving alms and tithes. But may those outwardly acts be the fulfillment of our inner feelings of piety and love towards God and neighbor. Let us outwardly be like the Pharisee but inwardly be like the publican. Then we will be true worshipers of God, the God who is merciful to us, the sinners and who loves mankind!”

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

During preparation for Holy Communion the choir prayerfully performed hymns from the Lenten Triodion which begin to be sung on this Sunday, starting with the words “The door of repentance open to me, o Giver of life…”

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector made the announcements regarding future celebration of the Meeting of the Lord and about the next privileged (compact) week. He also congratulated Lilia Snaychuk on her past birthday and proclaimed the Polychronion on her behalf.

33rd Sunday after Pentecost. Synaxis of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church


On February 6, on the 33rd Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the New Holy Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, we had a beautiful celebration at St. George. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily:

“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate Sunday of Zacchaeus and feast of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church. Our first Gospel reading is the one that finishes our ordinary Pentecostal cycle and begins the period of our preparation for Lent. It tells about a sinful man, a chief tax collector who had a desire to meet Jesus. As a result of that meeting, he converted and showed his true repentance”.
“The Gospel story tells that our Lord Jesus Christ noticed Zacchaeus who climbed the tree and told him to come down because the Lord wishes to visit his home (Lk. 19, 5). Although Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, a great and a public sinner, Christ desired to come to his house. That happened because our Lord “had come to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Lk. 5, 32). And Christ was expecting that Zacchaeus will truly repent. And, as we heard in the Gospel, he did. Zacchaeus exclaimed, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Lk. 19, 8)”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Usually, we hear that if people say they repent, they go to confession and then we may not notice any other action on their part. But true repentance means changing your life and it also means correcting the wrong you have done. Zacchaeus decided to give half of his possessions to the poor. His wealth was the result of his wrongdoings and sins. Thus he wishes to distribute at least half of it. Further he decided to restore fourfold the goods that he have taken by false accusations. Tax collectors were corrupt and evil: they accused the people of owing the taxes and robbed them taking the money for themselves. Now the chief publican decides to compensate those whom he defrauded, and to compensate them fourfold. This is true repentance and this is salvation. That is why the Lord proclaimed, “Today salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham” (Lk. 19, 9)”.
“Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham who acquired salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are the sons and daughters of the Holy Rus’ – many of us by birth, some of us spiritually – but all of us are children of the Russian Church who strive for salvation through the same Christ. Honoring today our New Martyrs and Confessors, we should keep in mind that our salvation depends on our own choices and decisions. The Holy Gospel tells us that Christ called us, the sinners, for repentance. Thus we have to repent. It tells that we have to be faithful to God, and we should. Our New Martyrs and Confessors also made their choices and decisions. They remained faithful to the Lord and to His Holy Church. They suffered and many of them died for Christ. Through their endeavors our Russian Church had been blessed and given the new life in our days”.
“Speaking of the New Martyrs and of the history of our Church in the previous century, you cannot avoid talking about politics and making judgments. Therefore, forgive me today for being political and judgmental. Every Christian soul understands that the godless powers that took over the Holy Rus’ in the 20th century, were the evil forces, the enemies of Christ that persecuted the Holy Church and its faithful members. What is less understood is that more than 3 decades after those evil forces ceased to exist, we do not see that all the wrong is corrected. The governments of the countries which are now existing on the lands of historical Rus’ superficially condemned the actions of the persecutors. However, we do not see their true repentance, a repentance of Zacchaeus. It is no secret that many of the political leaders of those countries themselves used to be Communists or affiliated with repressive structures. In some way, they resemble Zacchaeus. Some of them did show the allegiance to the Church, began attending certain services, some received Sacraments. But none of them made their governments show true repentance”.
“We have to admit with sorrow that if Zacchaeus compensated those whom he offended, the Holy Church was not compensated. Many temples, monasteries and property were given back. But not all of it. And in many places they are given for rent, not for ownership. We have to note with regret that instead of unceasing repentance about the Soviet past, that past is now praised by the modern leaders while the true history is falsified. For instance, some time ago the authorities in Russia banned the historians from researching the KGB archives, the cases of the New Martyrs. And at this time it is difficult to find the materials for new glorifications of more persons who were martyred in those days”.
“But if the governments and the leaders are not concerned about salvation, we should be. Each Russian Orthodox Christian, on individual level, should be concerned about being the son or daughter of the Holy Rus’. We need to repent, we need to change, we need to restore if we did some wrong. Once I heard a confession of an old woman. She told me that when she was young, she used to dance at the village club. The club was in the former church building, and the youth was coming there to dance. In her old age her feet were sick, and she was convinced that it was a punishment for her dancing. But she did repent, so I was very happy for her soul. I believed that on that day when she repented, salvation has come to her life”.
“Some other people did not repent. I knew a young woman who used to work at the planetarium that was also in the church building. It was a beautiful temple with a dome, so the attendees were looking at the stars and planets inside that cupola. Now, thank God, that cathedral is returned to the Church, and I even served there a couple of times. So, that young woman was giving the guided tours in that place. She never truly worried about that and later she was brutally killed in her young age. Another person who worked there was having her desk in the altar area. She also died a terrible death”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! I am telling you these stories not to scare you but to convince you that God is never defiled or defeated. His enemies are. And if we sin, it is us who are defiled, defeated and humiliated. But we have a cure – true and sincere repentance. May the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of our Church pray and intercede for us, so we may become true children of the Holy Rus’. May their heroic lives inspire us to be faithful to our Church, so salvation may come to us, to our house, to our country, to our lives!”

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 beautifully performed the magnification and the stichera of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following the Liturgy the Rector performed a memorial Litia for all the deceased who perished during the times of godless persecutions of Christian faith in Soviet Union.

After the service the Rector greeted Anton and Maria Malyshev on their past name distributing the Theotokian prosphora among them. He also congratulated Andrew Malyshev on the occasion of his birthday. Traditional Polychronion was proclaimed on behalf of each one of them.

Following our services the Rector and some parishioners stayed for the coffee hour and enjoyed delicious refreshments and a nice conversation.

Snow Removal around the Church


Last Sunday, January 30, we had no service in our church due to the snow storm on Saturday. Our Rector was not able to arrive in New York. However, by his blessing, a group of our parishioners volunteered to come to the church property to remove the snow.

A commendable work of shoveling the snow was performed by the Malyshev family (Andrew, Maria, Anton and little Elena), Liana Sukhishvili, Emilian Suric, Richard Beltran and his mother Maria.

We are very grateful them for the work done for the benefit of the Church. God bless our cheerful helpers!