“He said unto them, ‘Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
The Sermon of Sermons… is the Sermon for the Cross, presented to us today by our Mother Church, on the Sunday after the elevation of the Honourable Cross. And we are all invited to offer to the Cross our hearts, instead of flowers and basils. The Church calls us to raise ourselves from the earth and our ordinary life, to gaze upon the brightness emanating from Christ and His Cross. The most central sign in the gospel is the sermon of the Cross of Christ: God on the Cross – incomprehensible and never understandable. Only men whose hearts pound with sincere feeling are capable of comprehending the meaning. Only those who love, only they can understand the Sacrifice of the Son of God. The rest will remain indifferent. But again there is no real measure by which we can compare the love between men and the love of God towards man.
Sunday before Holy Cross, John 3: 13-17
For a long time the Cross served as the instrument of a shameful punishment, exciting fear and disgust among people, but from the time that Christ sanctified it by His Blood, it became an object of pious respect and veneration for all Christians. However, this did not become universal at once. The very life-bearing Tree on which the Lord was crucified laid in the ground for many years until it was revealed to the world in a miraculous manner.
Today, on this Sunday before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Lord presents the central theme of the Gospel in a few words: God saves the world from the devil and sin driven by endless love alone! Continue reading
The first Feast of the Liturgical Year is the Birth of the Virgin Mary
Your Nativity, O Virgin, has proclaimed joy to the whole universe! The Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, has shone from you, O Theotokos!
By annulling the curse, He bestowed a blessing. By destroying death, He has granted us eternal life. Troparion of the Feast Continue reading
Commemorated on January 26 and April 4 (17)
Depression is a spiritual cross, Saint Maria of Gatchina
And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself. As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering. Wisdom of Solomon [3, 5-6]. Continue reading
13th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 21: 33-42
How many of us have a garden’ In that garden grow fruits and mostly vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, etc). We cook or can the vegetables or make lots of salads in the summer. We give some away to share our abundant crop with neighbours and friends. Probably we don’t think of our garden like a farmer does because it’s not our main source of income or livelihood. We do not depend on the crop to pay for the land. Thus, it may be difficult for us to understand Jesus’ parable of the vineyard owner as told in today’s gospel reading on this the 13th Sunday of Matthew (21:33-42). Let us briefly review the parable. Continue reading
The 40 Holy Virgins and Saint Ammoun the Deacon, were from Adrianopolis in Macedonia. Deacon Ammoun was their guide in Christian Faith. They were captured by Baudos the governor, and were tortured because they would not offer sacrifice to idols. Continue reading
12th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW, Matthew 19: 16-26
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Lord warns us today of how difficult it is for a man who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.
Does it mean that the Kingdom of God is open only to destitute, to those who are materially poor, who lack everything on earth? No. The Kingdom of God is open to all who are not enslaved by possessions. When we read the first Beatitude, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’, we are given a key to this saying: the poor in spirit are those who have understood that they possess nothing which is their own. We have been created as an act of God, loved into existence; we are offered by God communion with Him to which we have no rights. All we are, all we possess is not our own in the sense that we have not made ourselves, we did not create what is seemingly ours – every thing which we are and which we have is love, the love of God and the love of people, and we cannot possess anything because everything is a gift that escapes us the moment we want to have possession of it and say, “It is mine”. Continue reading
The Spiritual Testament of St Seraphim of Vyritsa (1866-1949)
“This was from me” is a famous letter written by Saint Seraphim of Vyritsa that he sent to his spiritual child, a bishop who was in a Soviet prison at that time; this homily “This was from me” is written as a consolation and counsel to the bishop to let him know that God the Creator addresses to the soul of man. Continue reading
Panagia of Harou is the name of the unique icon which depicts the Virgin Mary cradling the crucified Christ, rather than the Christ child, hence its name (haros in Greek means “death”). This icon is found in the Church of St. John the Theologian in Leipsi, Greece. The annual commemoration of the icon takes place on August 23 when the island of Leipsi fills with pilgrims from all over the Dodecanese, to witness the procession of the icon around the entire island and see the annual blossoming of the dead bouquet of lilies on the icon. Continue reading