Sermon for Thomas Sunday (2018)

Sermon for Thomas Sunday (2018)

April 15, 2018

The Gospel tells us that Thomas was not with the other disciples on the day when Christ rose from the dead and appeared to them. Therefore, when the disciples saw Thomas, they announced to him that they had seen the Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. Thomas replies, saying, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

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Sermon for the 5th Sunday of Great Lent: St. Mary of Egypt

Sermon for the 5th Sunday of Great Lent: St. Mary of Egypt

March 25, 2018

Those who do not see their sins will not possess repentance, and those who do not acquire repentance will never draw near to contrition of heart. Those bereft of contrition will never become humble, and those who are not crushed and made tender by the grace of radiant and quiet humility will never see Who Christ—the most meek and humble of heart—really is. Those who do not see God will never know Him, and those who do not know God will never be able to be exalted by insuppressible love for Him.

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Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Great Lent: St. John of the Ladder

Sermon for the 4th Sunday of Great Lent: St. John of the Ladder

March 18, 2018

In the icon of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, we only see the image of Christ at the very top, upon the last step (of love); but, this does not mean that Christ is not with us at every step. It is true that the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” is only seen in its full, unmediated vision, at the height of the ladder’s summit: divine love and union with God—that is, only after we have struggled long and hard, co-operating with God, and His grace has freed us from sin and passion; and He has made to grow within us the fullness of His love, making us to see Him within us in the fullness of His glory.

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Sermon for the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent: St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica

Sermon for the 2nd Sunday of Great Lent: St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica

March 04, 2018 1 Comment

How is God known? That is the question which St. Gregory Palamas answered in his response to accusations raised by Gregoras, Barlaam, and Akindynos. After four successive synods in the fourteenth century (1341, 1344, 1347, 1351), the teaching of St. Gregory was upheld and that of Gregoras, Barlaam, and Akindynos were condemned. His teaching and their heresies were written in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy in 1453 and are read on every Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy (the first Sunday of Lent). The commemoration of St. Gregory on the second Sunday of Lent is like a continuation of the Triumph of Orthodoxy because of his triumph over these heretics. St. Gregory reposed in 1359 and was canonized in 1368, only nine years after his death and seventeen years after the last synod which upheld his teaching. It is St. Gregory’s teaching on how God is known which will be the subject of our homily today

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The Unity of the Faith: A Sermon for the Sunday of Orthodoxy (2018)

The Unity of the Faith: A Sermon for the Sunday of Orthodoxy (2018)

February 25, 2018

We are gathered here together on the first Sunday of Great Lent to celebrate the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This feast was originally established to commemorate the victory of the venerators of icons over the iconoclasts, but more generally we also commemorate on this day the victory of the true Orthodox faith over all the heresies that have challenged it throughout history.

There is an interesting fact which we easily overlook about this feast: the original Triumph of Orthodoxy, the triumph of the veneration of icons, was not only a victory in a battle waged within the Church, but also within society and the entire Byzantine Empire at large. You see, when the final victory of the holy icons occurred, the Seventh Ecumenical Council was long over, the bishops had already decreed that the icons are a holy and necessary part of our faith. It was rather the iconoclast emperors who had continued to resist; therefore the Triumph of Orthodoxy was not only a theological triumph, but also a political triumph.

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A Tale of Two Cities: A Sermon on Exile, for Forgiveness Sunday (2018)

A Tale of Two Cities: A Sermon on Exile, for Forgiveness Sunday (2018)

February 17, 2018

Today during Matins we heard for the third and final time this year the singing of the beautiful and haunting psalm “By the waters of Babylon.” This psalm tells us a story, the same story that comprises all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. It is the story of our home, and of our exile from it. The psalm tells the story of the Israelites taken away captive into Babylon, weeping for the Jerusalem that was lost. This story is mirrored also in the Gospel readings of the three Sundays on which it is sung: it is the story of the Prodigal Son, “coming to himself” in the far country and remembering the Father’s house. It is the story of the Last Judgement, that great day on which all of us will return home, whether we will it or not. And above all, it is the story of Adam, weeping outside the gates of Paradise.

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The Gates of Death: A Sermon on the Meeting of the Lord (2018)

The Gates of Death: A Sermon on the Meeting of the Lord (2018)

February 14, 2018

Today’s feast has many meanings, many aspects, and even many names. It is sometimes called the Meeting of the Lord, sometimes the Purification of the Virgin, sometimes the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and finally, especially in the West, it is known as Candlemas – the Feast of the Light that shown upon St. Symeon and which we remember by blessing candles on this day. This multiplicity of names and meanings is an indication that today’s feast is situated at a crossroads: between the Law and the Prophets, between the infancy and the adulthood of Christ, between the Old and the New Covenant. Today, for the first time in history, God Himself enters bodily into the Temple which was made for Him, carried in the arms of Her who is Herself the true Holy of Holies, the Tabernacle more spacious than the heavens. He enters not in a cloud of glory, but in humble poverty, in meekness fulfilling the Law which He Himself gave. And She enters to be purified, She who alone is spotless and undefiled. Here the Righteous Symeon prophecies over Him who is the fulfillment of all the Prophets.

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Sermon for the Sunday of the Last Judgment (2018)

Sermon for the Sunday of the Last Judgment (2018)

February 11, 2018

Today, we see heaven and earth passing away. We see them rolled up like a scroll. We see the elements melting on account of the divine fire of Christ the most glorious God-Man Who has come again to His creation in the same manner as He ascended from it. However, now He is seen by every eye. Now the veil of time and space, of heaven and earth, the veil of spiritual blindness, and of willful ignorance, all of these now are taken away, and every eye sees Christ.

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