On June 4 of this year all Orthodox Christians celebrated Pentecost, the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Our St. George parish family had a beautiful celebration in our temple. The church was nicely adorned with greenery. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate great feast of the Pentecost. It is the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. We also often call this holy day the feast of the Most Holy Trinity because on this day God finished revealing Himself as one God in Three divine Persons. If we recall the sacred history of our salvation, God first revealed Himself as the Father. It had been in the times of the Old Testament. Then the Son of God comes to the world, becomes human, reveals Himself in Jesus Christ. Finally, on the 50th day, on the day of Pentecost, the Apostles receive the Holy Spirit. Thus, today, recalling that Descent, we celebrate the final manifestation of the Most Holy Trinity. Reflecting on that holy event of the Pentecost, we should say that for the Holy Apostles it was a special and stunning experience. So, let us speak about that aspect”.
“In all areas of human life we need an experience. Most of us know how it is important if you want to get a job. Usually, the employers ask whether you have an experience in the work you seek. Older people are often considered to be wiser because they have a life experience – they lived longer to know more. In order to speak about something and to be persuasive, you need to experience those things. Many people who discuss things like war or politics, are not really convincing because they had never been in the war, never fought on the battlefield, or they had never been exposed to real politics. But they like to talk about those matters. Sometimes they are stopped and reminded that they had never experienced those things for real, thus, they should not speak of them so adamantly”.
“Same is with the spiritual life. In order to be profound in faith and spiritual matters, one must experience God’s presence, His love and grace. And this had been experienced by the Holy Apostles when they became worthy of the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The event of Pentecost described in the Epistle lesson was a very impressive experience of coming of the Divine Comforter. Let us recall what the Epistle says: “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2, 2-4)”.
“God cannot be fully expressed. In fact, a God fully defined is no God, but He can be experienced. If someone does not believe in God, it is difficult or even impossible to prove to him that God exists. If someone believes in a wrong way, again, it is difficult to rectify his belief. But if someone experienced true God and true faith, he feels God and knows the truth. As we said, God expressed Himself once in the Old Testament as the Father of the chosen people. He wished to be experienced by His people as the great Lord and Creator, to as the Giver of law. Then in the New Testament He expressed Himself as Jesus Christ. The purpose of that expression was that He might be experienced in the lives of His people as Emmanuel – God with us. No one can prove to you that Christ is the Son of God. We have to find out for ourselves. It’s like love – you can only love by experience, not by reading it in a book. And finally, God expressed Himself as the Holy Spirit. By that expression He desired to come and dwell within ourselves by His grace, by His spiritual power. Again, no one can prove to you that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and continues to abide with the Church. You have to feel it by yourself”.
“This is why the Scripture says,“Come and see” (Jn. 1, 46). When the Disciples found Christ and one of them had doubts that they really found Christ, another one said it to him. Or, as the Samaritan woman said to her neighbors, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did” (Jn. 4, 29), or as the Psalm says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 33, 8). We have to see, taste or experience God in order to have a true faith. Every Liturgy from this day of Pentecost and until the next Pascha we sing, “We have seen the true Light, we have received the Heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith, we worship the undivided Trinity”. We have seen, we have received, we had an experience, thus we are able to worship the Holy Trinity”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! May our spiritual life be a blessed experience, continuously and constantly enriched by the divine grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of God the Father and by the communion of the Holy Spirit!”
Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar server performed the rite of Glorification singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast before the festal icon in the middle of the church. Then the Rector greeted the faithful on the great holy day. He also congratulated Elena Malyshev on her past name day proclaiming the Polychronion and handing her the Theotokian prosophora.
After the Liturgy the Rector served Pentecostal Vespers with kneeling prayers.
Following all our festal services we enjoyed delicious luncheon and a nice company at the coffee hour.