BE ANGRY, AND SIN NOT ~ HOMILY ON THE FEAST OF PENTECOST

St. Luke, Archbishop of Crimea

The great feast has arrived, a feast of great joy for Christians: The Holy Spirit has descended upon the apostles, and not only upon the apostles – the Holy Spirit has come to the world to fulfil the promise made to us by our Lord Jesus Christ when He said, “I will not leave you orphans, I will send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.” And the Holy Spirit sanctified the Earth, and He will lead the Christian race on the path of salvation to the end of the ages. Continue reading

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THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD

The Wednesday which follows the fifth Sunday after Easter is the day when, in liturgical terminology, we ‘take leave’ of the Easter feast. We commemorate the last day of the physical presence of the risen Christ amongst his disciples; and to honour this presence, to honour the Resurrection once more, the Church on this Wednesday repeats the service for Easter Sunday in its entirety. And then we come to the fortieth day after Easter, the Thursday on which the Church celebrates the feast of the Ascension. The Lord Jesus passed forty days on earth after His Resurrection from the dead, appearing continually in various places to His disciples, with whom He also spoke, ate, and drank, thereby further demonstrating His Resurrection.

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Homily on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing women

Mark 15: 43-47, 16: 1-8, 8 May 2022

When reading the Holy Gospels, one of the most striking things we see is that after the Lord’s Resurrection, His Disciples were not the first to see Him. Instead, it was the women who had anointed Jesus’ dead body with myrrh, who would receive the blessing to see the Lord first. These pious women, who remained faithful to Him since the beginning, kept the flame of devotion constantly burning in their hearts. They followed Jesus and the Twelve Apostles during their public ministry, and served them in the needs of daily life. St. Luke the Evangelist notes that the women who accompanied Jesus provided for His needs from what they had (see Luke 8:3). Some of them were wealthy, such as Joanna, the wife of Chuza, who was an official for King Herod. Continue reading

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On the great desire of God

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

~ On the great desire of God

‘God will have all men to be saved’ (I Tim; 2:4).

God desires that all men be saved; for this the Lord Jesus descended into hell, to save those also who had lived on earth before His coming. For, if He had not descended into hell, an enormous number of righteous souls would have perished for ever. And further: if He had not descended into hell, it, the greatest abode of evil against God and the human race, would have remained undestroyed. These two reasons, therefore, woke Christ the life-Giver and sent Him down in spirit into hell: firstly, to destroy the nest of the powers of hell; and secondly, to lead forth from hell to Paradise the souls of our forefathers and the prophets and righteous men and women, who had fulfilled the ancient Law of God and had thus been pleasing to Him. Before Satan had done exulting in Christ’s humiliation and death on the Cross, Christ appeared, living and almighty, in the midst of hell, the chief abode of Satan. What unexpected and devastating tidings for Satan! For three years he had plaited a noose for Christ on earth, and in three days Christ destroyed his kingdom and led out the most precious booty in the form of a swarm of righteous souls.

Thou desirest that all men be saved, O Lord. We pray Thee: save us also, for there is neither salvation nor a Saviour apart from Thee. In Thee only do we hope, and Thee alone do we worship, Thee and the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

~ On Thomas’s proof by experience

My Lord and my God!’ (John 20:28).
When the Apostle Thomas touched the wounds of the Lord Jesus, he cried: ‘My Lord and my God!’

When Mary Magdalene heard the voice of the Risen One in the garden, she exclaimed in her soul: ‘My Lord and my God!’
When Saul saw the light and heard the words of the Risen One, he acknowledged: ‘My Lord and my God!’
When the pagans beheld how innumerable martyrs endured their sufferings with joy, and asked them who was this Christ, they each answered: ‘My Lord and my God’.

When mockers ridiculed the army of ascetic monks, and asked them who it was for whom they laid on themselves such strict asceticism, they all had only one reply: ‘My Lord and my God’.

When mockers ridiculed maidens who had vowed virginity and asked them who it was for whom they scorned marriage, they all had only one reply: ‘My Lord and my God’.

When lovers of money asked rich men, in disbelief, for whose sake they had given away their riches and become poor, they answered one and the same thing: ‘My Lord and my God’.

Some saw Him, and said: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Some only heard Him, and said: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Some touched Him, and said: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Some perceived Him in the tissue of events and the destinies of peoples, and said: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Some came to know Him by some sign, either to themselves or to others, and cried out: ‘My Lord and my God!’ And some only came to hear of Him from others, and believed, and cried: ‘My Lord and my God!’ Indeed, these last are the most blessed.

Let us also cry with all our hearts, however we have come to the discovery and knowledge of Him: ‘My Lord and my God!’

To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

~ The Prologue from Ochrid, St Nikolai Velimirović

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Have You Seen The Lord? Does It Make You Glad To See Him?

SUNDAY OF THOMAS, John 20: 19-31

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
John 20:19-20, Thomas Sunday Continue reading

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What is the Good News?

And the angel said to them, “Be not afraid, far I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people” (Luke 2:10)

What is the good news? In the Nativity story, the Angels gave the message, “For to you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11)

What does that mean to us? Continue reading

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7TH SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 8: 41-56

Christ is late…

Today’s Gospel reading (Luke 8, 41-56) is truly wonderful. It has to do with the raising of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of the woman with an issue of blood.

According to the text, an important figure in the synagogue, Jairus, approached Jesus and asked Him to accompany him to his home to cure his only daughter, who was twelve years old and at death’s door. Christ set off for the house, but a woman who’d been suffering from haemorrhaging for twelve years and had found no cure from doctors approached Him and touched the hem of His garment. When she did so, the bleeding stopped. Christ realized that power had left Him and asked who it was who’d touched Him. The woman approached, explained that she’d been cured and He said to her: ‘Take courage, your faith has saved you. Go in peace’. In the meantime, Jairus’ daughter died. Jesus went to the house, however, and restored the girl to life.

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The Parable of the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus

5TH SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 16: 19-31

The Parable of the Holy Gospel does not refer to the Second Coming of Christ, neither to His Last Judgement, but to the period of time between man’s death and the Second Glorious Coming of Christ our Lord and God. This period is called: The Middle Condition of the souls.

What is death?

Death, according to Holy Scriptures, is the separation of the human’s soul from his body. Death was not created by God right from the beginning, but came as the result of man’s Fall, disobedience and unrepentance (Gen. 3:9-13). “And unto Adam He said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”(Gen. 3:17-19). Continue reading

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Jesus healing the Gadarene demoniac

6TH SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 8: 26-39

As our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ visited the villages of Judaea, he met a man from the village of Gergesene. Now, this particularly man few years ago became possessed by many demons, who made him suffer in many ways. The possessed man was in a wild condition, the result of the demons’ influence. He was ripping off his clothes and was living in the tombs of the dead. Although his relatives were tiding him up with chains, in order that he will be unable to harm any other human being, he was breaking his chains and was led by the demons into the wilderness.

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Homily by St John of Kronstadt on the Parable: Sower and the Seed – On the Varying Effects of God’s Word Upon Man’s Heart, Owing to Differences Among Hearts

4TH SUNDAY OF LUKE, Luke 8: 5-15

Today, beloved, the Gospel parable was read about the sower and the seed, about the unequal quality of the land upon which the seed fell, and about the varying fates of the seed. At the end of the Gospel reading the Lord Himself, at the request of His disciples, explained the parable (Luke 8:5-15). Continue reading

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