The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (1Th.5:28)
Beginning of the celebration of the Epiphany.
Christmas Epistle to the Sisterhood, Parishioners, and God-Loving Visitors of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia of Holy Royal Martyrs in Reno and Sparks.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men! (Luke 2:14).
Over two millennia have passed since people first heard this angelic praise hymn. It was heard by simple shepherds: Those with hearts able to rejoice at this song filled with greatness, mercy, love of mankind. Their humble joy was magnified when our Lord Jesus Christ gave them the chance to be the first guests at His Birthday.
Like many generations of Christians, we hear these angelic words in church songs in these Christmas days. Jesus Christ the Lord expects the same response of humility, repentance, prayer, gratitude, and joy from our hearts.
The ecclesial liturgical year is now coming to an end. We all know that our Lord gave us many trials this year. As all tribulations let by God, they stimulate spiritual vigilance and Christian zeal. On the other hand, these trials are a test revealing what was concealed in us during calm days.
When our life is calm, it is hard to imagine all persecutions, losses, sorrows, humiliations suffered by Christ God the Infant with His Most Pure Mother, with St Joseph to whom She was espoused, and with Joseph’s children from his first marriage, who became Jesus Christ’s brothers and sisters. How could we then sympathize with Jesus, whom we see lying in the crib now, and crucified a bit later? However, as St John Chrysostom wrote: Persecutions, sorrows, stressful events not only should not embarrass us, but should bring us joy, since through them, we partake into the death of Jesus Christ, in a sense portray it in ourselves.
With grief we mention that this last year some of our close ones departed us. Our Lord called them to His celestial palaces. One of them was our brother and fellow Jesus Christ’s servant in our parish: Deacon Alexander Gousev. Our sorrow would be desperate if we did not know that Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9). We hope and believe that Lord Jesus Christ gave them peace. This was the peace which the shepherds from the Gospel have heard in the Christmas song of angels. We hope and believe that our Lord settled them where there is no sorrow, nor suffering. We believe that in these holy days their voices are praying for us before God’s throne and singing this majestic song with angels: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
God is merciful more than He is just. Together with deserved sorrows, He granted us many gifts. I am sure that each one of us has had something in this past year for which we need to thank the Lord: Each one has received a personal little miracle. We were able to gather on all Sundays and feasts and celebrate the Divine Liturgy according to the age-old traditions of the Orthodox Church, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ with united voices and hearts. This by itself is a great God’s mercy to us.
Like the hearts of the shepherds from the Gospel, let our hearts be filled with joy from Christmas song by angels. Let us also bring God the gifts: the gold of our virtues, the myrrh of repentance, and the frankincense of praise. Then the celestial song: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men, will not cease in our hearts after these holy days. Then our Glorious in the Highest Lord, showing His blessings to us, will give us His peace.
With love in Jesus Christ,
Dean Archpriest Andrii Kudriavtsev.
Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, December 25, 2020
Randomly selected question to the priest (all questions)
Father! my name is Polina but baptized under the name Pelageya. Was born on July 5 1969, when the Day of my Angel should be celebrated? Thank you for the answer.Answer >>>
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The last video with a conversation on the Revelation of John the Evangelist on our channe
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