18th Sunday after Pentecost. Celebration of the Protection of the Most Holy Mother of God


On October 16, on the 18th 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 we observe 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 enemies happened in the 10th 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”.
We should always remember to honor the Most Holy Mother of God and pray to Her in our needs. And we have to remember that we will receive according to our faith and devotion. We must show the zeal and piety in order to attain help”.
Our times are no less troublesome for the Church and Christian people than the times when the celebrated event of the Protection took place. The holy city of the Church and Christian civilization is now under attack from many sides. Preaching about that before I used to say that there are two sides from whee the Church is attacked: Islamic terrorists and Western liberals. Now I can identify more attackers, even those who are inside the Church but deviate from the teaching of Christ, for instance those who bless the unjust war in Ukraine”.
Considering these challenges we Christians face in today’s world, we should ask ourselves a question, “What is so different about us that other people would see that we are right?” Or, “What can we offer to this world, so others could follow us, instead of following the false calls of our challengers?” Today’s first Gospel lesson is giving us an answer. Our Lord says, If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back.But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return” (Lk. 6, 32-35). If we follow what the Lord said we make a difference in the world”.
In today’s world everybody is looking for an average. We hear that constantly: the average American, the average husband, the average wife, the average child. If you think of that you may learn that averages are dangerous. A man who trusted the average data tried to make across the river whose average depth was two feet. He drowned in water twelve feet deep! But we are told that average means normal. On that basis the people are told that pre-marital sex is normal while self-control, chastity and virginity are abnormal because an average young person engages in pre-marital sex. We are told that an average husband is unfaithful, so infidelity in marriage is normal while being faithful is abnormal. We are also told that an average war presumes collateral damage, anticipates death of the civilian people. But this present war in Ukraine shows that civilians being attacked intentionally and suffer the most. But generally we are told that if it’s an average, no matter what it is, it becomes normal. The average thus becomes our idol whom we worship, worship at the altar of public opinion”.
Our Lord Jesus Christ calls us to be not average but above average. If an average person loves those who love him, we ought to do more. If an average person lends to those from whom he expects to receive back, we need to do more. If an average person loves his friends and hates his enemies, we ought to love both our friends and our enemies. Are other people, for instance the Muslim people, righteous? We Christians are called to be more righteous. Are the Muslims generous? We are called to be more generous? Are the liberals in our society understanding and tolerant? We are called to be more understanding and more tolerant. For this reason the Lord called His disciples the light of the world, the salt of the earth. The Saints were not average. They were above average”.
Especially all these things are true about the Most Holy Mother of God. She was certainly way above the average. And this is why She is now our Protectress in heaven. And our second answer to the questions we ask should be the following. We may prove that we are different and can offer something others cannot offer to this world. We may prove it by offering our prayers to the Most Holy Mother of God, by venerating Her and by asking Her to cover the whole sinful world by the veil of Her Protection”.

The cantor nicely performed the hymns in honor of the Theotokos during preparation for Holy Communion.

Following 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. Then he greeted Maria Malyshev on her past name day handing her the Theotokian prosphora and proclaiming the Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) in her behalf.

The Rector also made the announcements, especially regarding his absence for 2 weeks. He encouraged the parishioners to attend other churches when we have no services in our temple, so they could continue participating in Sunday liturgical worship.

After the Liturgy at the request of the Malyshev family the Rector performed the memorial Litia to commemorate Vitaliy Malyshev who reposed one year ago. Following the service the family offered a commemoration trapeza.

Rector of St. George Church attended the Funeral of Archpriest John Kassatkin


On Monday, October 10, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov attended the funeral of the newly-departed senior cleric of the Patriarchal Parishes, Mitered Archpriest John Kassatkin who passed away on October 6.

Burial services were held at Elevation of the Holy Cross Church in Hackettstown, NJ. The Divine Liturgy was headed by Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Archpriest George Konyev. At the conclusion of the Liturgy the memorial Litia was performed and our Rector arrived for that service and participated in it.

The funeral was also attended by Archpriest Basil Micek (Rector of St. Peter & Paul Church in Scranton, PA), Archpriest Michael Lepa (Administrator of St. Nicholas Church in Wilkes Barre, PA), Archpriest John Vass (Dean of the Atlantic States), Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov) (Dean of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City), Priest Yulian Ryabtsev (Dean of the Eastern States), Priest Andrew Massey (local parish Rector), and Priest Nicholas DeGraaff (cleric of Three Saints Church in Garfield, NJ).

Following the Litia the body of the newly-reposed Archpriest John was brought in procession around the church which he had served for almost 40 years, with the singing of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.

Fr. Igor Tarasov expressed his condolences to the spouse of the newly-departed, Matushka Maxine and assured her in his prayers, as well as of the warm memory of Fr. John in Bayside, NY where he had been serving for several years before his appointment for the Hackettstown parish in New Jersey.

Archpriest John was interred in St. Peter & Paul Cemetery in Saddle Brook, NJ among other departed priests of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA.

17th Sunday after Pentecost. Passing of St. John the Theologian


On October 9, on the 17 th Sunday after Pentecost, feast of the Passing of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, we had a nice celebration at our parish. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the readings from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily:

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today’s first Gospel reading takes us to the shores of Lake Gennesaret where our Lord called His first Disciples, Holy Apostles Peter, James and John. Today we also commemorate passing of one of them, of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian who became the beloved Disciple of Christ. Our second Gospel lesson from his own book briefly tells about Holy Apostle John being besides the Cross of Christ, along with the Most-Pure Mother of God”.
So, dear brothers and sisters, today’s two Gospel lessons mention the beginning and the end of the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ – His calling of the first Apostles and His crucifixion. And these lessons tell us about the beginning of the discipleship of St. John the Theologian and the end of it when the beloved Disciple was at the Cross of His dear Teacher”.
Every person is unique, and the relationship with God is unique for every person. St. John the Theologian was special because His relationship with Jesus was very close and intimate. As we just mentioned, the Scripture calls him the beloved Disciple of Christ. At the Last Supper, St. John rested on the chest of Christ, so some Fathers say that he a partaker of the wisdom of Christ love. It is interesting that all of the Apostles died as martyrs for Christ, but St. John was preserved until his very old age. He was not killed but he peacefully passed from this life to life everlasting. Tradition holds that his body was not found after his passing. St. John wrote one of the four Gospels, three Epistles and the famous book of Revelation. And everyone who read those books of the Holy Bible, learn that they are very different from many other writings. They are profoundly spiritual, mystical and have a deeper teaching about God. This is why we call him the Theologian. And particularly English Christians called him John the Divine”.
But let us return to the first Gospel of today, the Gospel of Luke. It describes how our Lord Jesus Christ was preaching from the boat belonging to Simon Peter. Then Jesus commands Peter to launch out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch. The Holy Fathers say that this command meant a radical change in St. Peter’s life. But for Simon Peter of those days, that request seemed to be a strange and a futile idea. As an experienced fisherman, he knew that trying to catch fish after a night of hard labors in attempt to have a catch and being unsuccessful, launching the boat into the deep again makes no sense. As a fisherman and as a man Peter was right. But our Lord Jesus Christ had a different understanding. He, as God, had a different vision. And we see that Peter was wrong and Jesus was right. However, we also see that Peter obeyed Jesus. He let down the nets and was rewarded for that”.
Thus, in this story we see the difference between the vision of men and the vision of God. Such difference is also seen in the way Peter reacted to the miraculous catch of fish. He fell down at the knees of Jesus and exclaimed, “Depart from me, for I am sinful man, o Lord!” (Lk. 5, 8). At that moment Peter understood that Jesus is not just a great Teacher but someone much higher than that. He is the Lord, and any man is strange and inferior to Him. In Peter’s words we see the fear of man standing before God. He expresses human incomprehension of God and acknowledgment of man’s unworthiness. But God tells Him in today’s reading, “Do not be afraid” (Lk. 5, 10)”.
Dear brothers and sisters! We, like Simon Peter, should also understand our unworthiness before God. We should acknowledge our sinfulness and be humble. But, on the other hand, we should remember that through Jesus Christ, the great Teacher of men and Divine Son, we are able to approach God and even unite with Him. Yes, we must be humble and express our unworthiness in repentance, but we also can draw near to the throne of grace in confidence, as St. Paul says (Hebr. 4, 16). Such opportunity is given to us in the offering of the Eucharist and in receiving it ion Holy Communion. The priest invites faithful to the Communion proclaiming, “With the fear of God, and with faith draw near!” In the Greek tradition the priest adds “and with love”. And truly, love is very important. God’s love makes the immense distance between Him and human person short. And our love towards God should make that distance shorter, make the incomprehensible God simple and understood, should make the ineffable God close and approachable”.
Love was the main theme of preaching and writings of today’s Saint, Holy Apostle John the Theologian. Being a close and intimate friend of Christ, he was capable to express both how God is great, inaccessible and ineffable, and how He is especially close and accessible to man. St. John, like an eagle which is his symbol, was able to soar into the high heavens of the knowledge of God. He was teaching that God becomes close to us and unites with us through love. He wrote, God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4, 16)”.
Dear brothers and sisters! In Christ Jesus impossible things become possible, and man unites with God. Let us not forget the words of the Savior said to Peter, “Do not be afraid” (Lk. 5, 10). We should not be afraid if we do something good in our life. Apostle John says, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn. 4, 18). The Lord is the only one who may fulfill the deeds we consider impossible. Through His divine power we may also become worthy to partake in His miraculous works, to see the great works of God upon ourselves, and to enjoy their outcomes along with Him. And the main condition for participation in those wonderful works is our love towards the Lord. Therefore, let us love the Lord. As Holy Apostle John the Theologian says, Love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4, 19)”.

During the Litany of Fervent Supplication the Rector had a petition for the suffering country of Ukraine and its people. He also added a commemoration of the “suffering Ukrainian land” at the Great Entrance.

The choir nicely performed the magnification and a stichera dedicated to St. John the Theologian during preparation for Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a brief sermon in Russian addressing celebrated feast of the Holy Apostle John. Fr. Igor also made some announcements. At the end he congratulated our Parish Treasurer and altar server, Emilian Suric on his past birthday and proclaimed a Polychronion on his behalf.

Mitered Archpriest John Kassatkin reposed in the Lord

On October 6, 2022, after a short illness, one of the senior-most clerics of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Mitered Archpriest John Kassatkin, Rector emeritus of the Elevation of the Cross Church in Hackettstown, NJ, reposed in the Lord at the age of 82.
For our St. George Church in Bayside Fr. John is remembered as one of the former pastors of our parish, serving shortly in our temple before 1982 when he was appointed Rector in the Hackettstown parish.
We express sincere condolences to the family and friends of the newly-departed Archpriest John and pray for the repose of the soul of the faithful servant of the Church in the mansions of the righteous.


6 октября 2022 г., после непродолжительной болезни, на 83-м году жизни спочил в Бозе старейший клирик Патриарших приходов в США, почетный настоятель Свято-Воздвиженской церкви в г. Хаккетстаун, штата Нью-Джерси, митрофорный протоиерей Иоанн Касаткин.
Для нашей церкви св. Георгия в Бейсайде отец Иоанн памятен как один из бывших пастырей нашего прихода, краткое время служивший в нашем храме до своего назначения настоятелем на приход в Хаккетстауне в 1982 году.
Мы выражаем искренние соболезнования семье и близким новопреставленного протоиерея Иоанна н молимся о упокоении души верного служителя Церкви в селениях праведных.


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


On October 2, on the Sunday after the Exaltation, St. George Parish family had a beautiful service. In addition to Sunday celebration, we also honored our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov on his name day. Fr. Igor headed the Divine Liturgy. He was co-served by the guests from St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York: Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov) and Protodeacon Igor Panachev.

After the Gospel lesson proclaimed by the deacon, the Rector preached the following homily:

“Dear Fathers! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate Sunday after the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Our Lord teaches us in today’s Gospel that His every true follower has to deny himself and take up the cross (Mk. 8, 34). Thus a Christian life requires a sacrifice and an endeavor.”
“A lot of us grew up listening to stories of heroes who sacrificed themselves for their country. They were often about heroes of different wars. Sometimes, we heard about people in other countries and even some of the Church’s Saints. But whatever we heard, we may notice that all these stories teach us courage, patience, hard work and self-denial. In some cases, the hero gave his or her own life to save others”.
“Our Savior, Jesus Christ, explained how all of us can be heroes of self-sacrifice. He taught this in today’s Gospel saying that by saying that whoever wants to be like Christ must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Him. Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Christ and the Gospel will save his life. And whoever is ashamed of being with Jesus (in or out of church) and ashamed of His teachings will be rejected by Christ when He returns on Judgment Day”.
“In some instances, a person sacrifices all his or her life to some noble cause and lives to fulfill it. This is seen in many men and women who dedicate themselves to the monastic life. This is also seen when a young mother decides to raise a child without any help from her relatives and renounces her own personal or professional life for this child. But self-denial may also lead to the ultimate sacrifice, not to dedicating, but to losing one’s life in the name of the Gospel. Our calendar is full of different Saints, especially the Holy Martyrs who lost their lives for Christ and for the Gospel”.
“Today we commemorate Holy faithful prince Igor who lived in the XII century. Although he is not a clear example of a person who died for Christ, his tragic destiny showed how the words of today’s Gospel are true. St. Igor became the Great Prince of Kiev at the time of a cruel struggle for the Kievan throne between the two princely factions. He belonged to one of them and he was placed on the throne of Kiev by that group. But after being betrayed by his own subjects who kissed the cross to be faithful to him, after losing a battle to his enemies and after being held captive, St. Igor agreed to renounce this world and to become a monk. He probably understood the words of Christ who said, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mk. 8, 36). The power of a prince which he lost so fast, and the throne of Kiev which was taken away from St. Igor – all this proved that there is no profit for a man to gain anything if he loses his soul. Therefore, St. Igor being tonsured a monk, decided to retire from the political struggle and to spend the rest of his life in endeavors of piety. However, the evil people from the Kievan nobility decided to kill the prince-monk. They incited the mob who attacked St. Igor in the church, during the Divine Liturgy, seized him and tried to murder. He was first rescued by his brother, but the mob chased Igor further and finally brutally killed him. As I said, although St. Igor did not die for Christ sake, he did die because of the evil which overcame human nature of his enemies. Those people did not wish to follow Christ because they did not deny their sinful nature, their evil desires and cruel passions. A Christian should understand that political, social and other preferences are not so important as our spiritual life”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Dear Fathers! Let us understand our true calling, a calling of a Christian. It is to deny ourselves, to deny our sinful nature, an evil nature and passions. Let us take our crosses by fulfilling our duties and being patient in our lives. Let us follow Christ who Himself is the Way to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom to which we can come by the way of the Holy Cross”.

The choir prayerfully performed hymns of the Exaltation of the Cross before Holy Communion.

After the dismissal of the Liturgy the clergy venerated the Holy Cross in the middle of the church.

Following that Abbot Nicodemus on behalf of the clergy of the Patriarchal Parishes greeted the Rector on his name day commending Fr. Igor for his fulfilling ministry and diligent pastoral care for St. George parish, especially in today’s difficult times of discord between the people and the Orthodox nations. He also conveyed the greetings from our present and former Archpastors, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, and Archbishop Justinian. Fr. Nicodemus presented Fr. Igor and our parish with the gift from Archbishop Justinian – the covers for the Eucharistic vessels. The Rector thanked Fr. Nicodemus for his greetings and for the gift. Then the church Warden, Olga Roussanow had a speech and on behalf of our parishioners also congratulating the Rector. Traditional Polychronion was proclaimed to Fr. Igor. Then the greetings were also extended to Protodeacon Igor Panachev and a Polychronion proclaimed on his behalf.

Our celebration continued at festal luncheon. The clergy and our parishioners enjoyed delicious meals, and a nice company. A toast was raised on behalf of the Rector celebrating his name day.