By Fr. Sergius Khrapitsky
There is always a fast after holidays. We always need to fast in order to throw away the dead weight that we don’t need and to get rid of it physically. Most importantly, we have to be really zealous in keeping with the gifts that God has given us, the greatest of which is faith. Faith is the ultimate God’s gift that we have received. We must not just preserve this gift but also defend it and use it. Let us defend our faith like the saints did. Let us teach ourselves not to be afraid of dying. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on June 15, 2017)
We shouldn’t be afraid of the powers of darkness. What we should be afraid of is losing God. He that is not with me is against me, as we have heard in the Gospel we’ve read today (Luke 11:23). When we lose God, we literally become his opponents, the Satan’s servants. Therefore, let us always do our best to stay with Christ, and we won’t be afraid of the terrible enemies who oppose God’s truth in this world and try to mock God’s truth and to insult the believers, the pious ones. God is patient to a certain extent but there comes a time when He will put them to shame. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on November 9, 2017)
By Fr. Sergius Nezhbort
I wish that this day and all our lives were as bright as this morning, so that the sunlight and the light of God’s love would shine upon us and there were no clouds that could block that light. There is too much gloom in our lives, isn’t there? That gloom wraps us up and we don’t know where to go and what to do. It may appear that there is no escape and that the pain will never end. Nevertheless, there comes a moment when clouds give way to the sun, and the sun starts to shine, and you start to see in this light of Divine beauty that there is a way out; you just have to be patient and wait for the Lord to help you. That’s why it’s vital that we don’t hurry, don’t hesitate, don’t go to extremes but wait patiently for the Lord to strengthen and support us, to dissolve the darkness of our souls and to let us see everything clear and bright. We must be careful not to block this light and let it shine in our hearts. Sometimes a person experiences an enlightenment for a moment but then he brings himself back into the darkness. May the Lord help us not to block the Divine Light. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on June 19, 2017)
Every Christian is a soldier of Christ. A sister or a brother of mercy is like a special forces soldier. They are people who can really go to a war zone and fight there like a commando or a paratrooper.
That’s in theory. In practice, however, things work differently. Instead of being a real soldier, a person tries to find some place to hide and to sit there undisturbed until the war ends. (Sermon after the Akathist on June 18, 2017)
It is so sad to look at a person who should know better, who is an adult and not a baby; a person who has spent a decade in the church but still remains in a baby-like state and does something inconsistent with his spiritual age.
Sometimes people get stuck in their current state and don’t want to grow up. You have to be able to recognise it in time and get yourself going. I believe that the life itself - the situations that we find ourselves in - may help us, if we are sensitive, attentive, and not stubborn or opinionated; if we are open for the change that the Lord can bring about in our souls. If we are really willing to give God the opportunity to transform us, the Lord will certainly transform us. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on January 10, 2018)
When I was reading the today’s Gospel, I was thinking about the fact that half of this reading is read during molebens in the hospital. There are many ill people there, some of whom are severely ill. While reading these words, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you (cf. Matthew 7:7), I can’t stop thinking to what extent they touch the hearts of those people and to what extent they touch my own heart. These words are beautiful and inspiring but it may happen that they fall on deaf ears because we don’t connect with them on the core level: maybe this can happen with someone somewhere but it will hardly happen to me. Thus, these words become abstract and detached from the reality of our everyday lives. I would like us to comprehend these words and get the feeling that the Lord is near, that He really cares for us and He will give us everything we need and He won’t give us what we don’t need and protect us against unnecessary temptations. He will give us strength to cope with the things that we have to suffer through. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on June 12, 2017)
By Fr. Valery Zakharov
When we come to church, we meet with saints who worked for God’s sake. We commemorate them one by one and try to hear and understand what they said to God and how they felt about God. We do our best to get in tune with them and ask them to help us to improve or at least repent of our imperfection. (Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on July 26, 2017)
Saints avoided other people not because they didn’t want to see them; they escaped people in order to get to them. When we acquire some spiritual skills, we push people away and isolate ourselves. It appears to us that we go to God but the result can be unsatisfactory: we open our eyes and see that we go in the opposite direction. It would be great if we didn’t lose direction, if we didn’t lose faith and connection with God. It would be wonderful if we kept our eyes fixed on the compass of love — His love, not human love because it is temporary — but on the love that points to the eternal life. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on September 10, 2017)
Every time we come to God — every time we come to church — we attempt to discover the invisible world that is present here, in the same space where the visible world is. We have to get into the other world, a different dimension. However, we don’t have to break into that world or sneak into it. We just have to open up our hearts to hear what the Lord wants to tell us in the still and quiet voice, not in the strong wind, not in the earthquake, and not in the fire. We have to listen intently to be able to notice the voice that calls us from the depths of our hearts in spite of the thundery noise of the world and the turbulence of our minds — to hear what God wants, what kind of people He would like us to be and how we should preserve the gift that He handed to us to ensure that it isn’t disdained and that it remains the pledge and the life-giving water that pours into our souls and gives rise to the invisible sprout that must grow into a huge tree in the Kingdom of Heaven where birds of the heaven will have their nests. (Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on August 27, 2017)