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.