Fr. Andrew Samsonov, rector of the All Saints of the Land of Nizhny Novgorod Church currently under construction, the dean of the Vorotynsky district of the Lyskov Diocese, reflects on the existence of Holy Rus’. Could it be a phantom or some righteous tale? If it isn’t a fairy tale, then who embodies it, and why?
Times were hard, we suffered persecution, but we were happy
At one of our meetings with Father Andrew, we couldn’t help but raise the subject of constant discontent, if not grumbling, resulting from the diminished level of the “comfort” so many of us are now used to having. Some of us think fewer red or black caviar sandwiches on their table is a sign of the end times; or they get depressed because they are unable to travel to their favorite destinations. Others despair at the lack of a familiar, steady connection with a world replete with that coveted or, as it turned out, completely illusory “Big Mac bliss,” and, as a result, they run scared when someone says, “sanctions.” Whether or not a Christian should panic is certainly a rhetorical question. The problem here is how not to become panic-stricken. Father Andrew smiles sadly:
Why were people then baptized in Jordan? What did baptism mean before Christ appeared to the world?
Was the Lord necessary to be baptized?
What did Jesus mean by saying "because it is right for us to in this way fulfill the whole law, experience justice"
What does water symbolize in Christ baptism?
Suddenly then, the heavens opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him
Can you explain this scene to us? What is the Spirit of God that descended like a dove and sat on Him? Why was this done?
And a voice was heard from heaven, saying: This is my beloved Son, through whom I have shown my favor! After the Spirit of God descended upon the Lord then God himself revealed to the world that Jesus is his Son.
What did God want to show humanity by this gesture?
Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity, three persons but one God.
Is the Holy Spirit a person?
And secondly, why is Godhead made up of three persons? God I understand is God. Jesus becomes God because he is sent to earth by God as God on earth. The Holy Spirit?
What does Homosexual and Undivided Holy Trinity mean?
For me autumn is in some sense a period of relaxation and rest, something like a vacation. Even in the liturgical sense, as clergymen we live—spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically—in the liturgical cycle: daily, weekly and yearly. This is what life is made of; we celebrate the Vespers, the Liturgy, live until Sunday or some great feast and meet it worthily at the altar of God, offering the Bloodless Sacrifice. This is basically the life of any priest and it does not change in the autumn.
And suddenly November 28 comes—the beginning of the Nativity Fast. It is also called Phillip’s Fast, because it is preceded by the feast of the holy Apostle Philip on November 27.
And now your life is focused: it is concentrated on the distance, like a runner or a rock climber. You live to reach the top. And this peak is the Nativity of Christ—the Birth of God, the Birth of the Savior of the world. God personally comes down to earth for you in order to personally lift you to Heaven.
Clearly, you need to fast both spiritually and physically. As it is said in the Holy Gospel: But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly (Mt. 6:17-18). To “anoint thine head” means to call upon your soul the grace of God, making it a temple of the Holy Spirit by participating in the sacraments of the Church, especially in confession, in Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, and in the Divine Liturgy. To “wash thy face” means to physically cleanse your body by abstaining from animal products so that your body can become a suitable and faithful worker for the soul in attaining the Kingdom of Heaven. Moreover, the Nativity Fast is not strict. We are allowed to eat fish and other seafood except for Wednesdays and Fridays, when for the sake of the Passion of Christ we abstain from fish and switch to only plant-based food and fast more strictly. Now our Church publishes fasting calendars for each day of the fast. There are also similar calendars on Orthodox websites. And there you can see what