Posted on

First week of Great Lent

This week marks the beginning of the Great Fast with services every day culminating in the Liturgy on Sunday where we celebrate the victory of the Church over the Inconoclast movement and the restoration of the Holy Icons. This happened not too far after the 7th Ecumenical Council where the teaching on Icons was defined, however, peace over this matter was not restored until a local synod was called in Constantinople and a triumphant procession was held to the great cathedral at Hagia Sophia on the 19th February 842 (the first Sunday of Great Lent that year). The Synod also decreed that a perpetual feast be observed each year on the First Sunday of Great Lent, and named the day, “the Sunday of Orthodoxy”

Please note: The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian is said with morning and evening prayers by all Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, except on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian:

O Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition or vain talking. Prostration.

But rather a spirit of purity, humility, patience and love, bestow on me Thy servant. Prostration.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou to the ages of ages. Amen. Prostration.

O God, cleanse me, a sinner. (12 times, with a bow made for each)

Then the entire prayer:

O Lord and Master of my life . . . with one prostration made at the end.

Posted on

Проповедь в понедельник 1-й седмицы Великого поста

27 февраля 2012 года, в понедельник первой седмицы Великого поста, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл совершил великое повечерие с чтением Великого канона прп. Андрея Критского в кафедральном соборном Храме Христа Спасителя.

February 27, 2012, on Monday the first week of Lent, the Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill presided at Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew of Crete in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Posted on

New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia


Tone 4:

O ye holy hierarchs, royal passion-bearers and pastors, /
monks and laymen, men, women and children, /
ye countless new-martyrs, confessors, /
blossoms of the spiritual meadow of Russia, /
who blossomed forth wondrously in time of grievous persecutions /
bearing good fruit for Christ in your endurance: /
Entreat Him, as the One that planted you, /
that He deliver His people from godless and evil men, /
and that the Church of Russia /
be made steadfast through your blood and suffering, //
unto the salvation of our souls.

Posted on

Christmas Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL

MOSCOW: January 6, 2012
Christmas Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia to the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and All the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church. Republished from the ROCOR Synod Website

Your Eminences the Archpastors, Honorable Fathers,
God-Loving Monks and Nuns, Dear Brothers and Sisters!

On this radiant and joyful feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, I cordially greet you all, my dear ones. On this light-bearing night together we prayerfully echo the doxology of the angels, proclaiming “great joy to all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior” (Luke 2:10-11).

Humanity, which rejected God in the Fall, discovers anew the chance to be united with its Creator and Provider. The coming of the Son of God into the world is his voluntary self-abnegation, ready to descend to a tortuous and shameful “death – even death on the cross” (Philippians 2:8). God is born in the flesh so that He may manifest His love to people and help every person willing to listen to His call to find the fullness of life.

That is why today’s feast grants to us the immutable hope of help from above in the most complex situations of our life. God, Who has not abandoned His creation and has revealed to it the way to eternity, is revealed to us in the Infant Christ, a defenseless Child in need of care and love.

All of us must retain in our hearts this Biblical image. In recalling the Divine Infant lying in a manger, we acquire a firm faith and indestructible hope in Divine Providence leading to the good of every human person. And even if in our life no support remains, if all seems to be unsure and unreliable, we are to realize clearly that the Lord can transform through His gracious power the pain, suffering and poverty of our world into happiness, joy and an abundance of spiritual gifts.

On the feast of the coming of the Savior the mental gaze of the faithful is turned towards the cradle of Christianity, the Holy Land, which was deemed worthy to be the place of the birth, abode and earthly ministry of the Lord. Today, Christ’s followers in the countries where the events of sacred history took place are experiencing difficult trials, encounter new threats to the existence of centuries-old spiritual traditions. During these radiant days of the Nativity, let us offer up ardent prayers for our brothers in the faith, the guardians of precious holy sites, the inheritors of the tradition of ancient Christianity.

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). These words of the Apostle concern not only the members of a single parish, a single church community. Indeed, they embrace all of the children of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church spread throughout the world. Her unity abides not only in a single patristic faith and communion in the sacraments but also in the sharing of hardships together, in sacrificial ministry towards each other, in mutual prayer. The past year has been difficult in the life of many countries and nations, including those who live in the expanse of historical Russia: many tragic events and cataclysms have proved to be a trial of our faith and steadfastness.

However, today the worst tribulations occur not in the material but in the spiritual realm. The dangers which abide on the physical plane have a negative impact on our physical well-being and comfort.

And while making the material aspect of life more complex, they nevertheless cannot do essential harm to the life of the spirit. Yet it is precisely the spiritual dimension which sheds light on the most important and grave challenge to our view of the modern world. This challenge is aimed at the destruction of the sense of morality embedded in our souls by God. Today we are told that the human person is the measure – and sole measure – of truth, that each individual has his own truth and that each individual decides for himself what is good and what is evil. The divine truth, and this means the distinction between good and evil that is founded on this Truth, is being substituted by a moral indifference and permissiveness which destroys people’s souls and denies them eternal life. If natural disasters and wars ruin the external structure of life, then moral relativism corrodes ones conscience, making us spiritual invalids, distorts the divine laws of being and breaks the connection between creation and Creator.

We are to resist this danger in the first instance by calling to our help the Most-Pure Virgin and the host of God’s saints so that through their intercession before the Throne of the “Sovereign Lord, holy and True” (Revelations 6:10), now venerated in the image of the newborn Infant, they may beseech for us the strength to combat sin and fight “against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). It is important to learn how to recognize the deceits and illusions of earthly well-being in our destructive addictions, in our greedy strivings, in the temptations of advertisements, in the entertainment industry and political propaganda. It is important at all times to listen to the voice of our conscience warning us of the danger of sin, to be able to make our actions fit the commandments of the Gospel.

Now, as always, each Christian is called upon to assert through his everyday actions the dignity of a righteous way of life, to consciously resist moral relativism and the cult of getting rich quickly. We are surrounded by a great number of infirm, sick and lonely people. There are also many who out of economic necessity have left their homes in search of a wage and need our care, often finding themselves in a hostile environment. Every pastor and layman is to participate in the social, missionary and public life of the Church. As St Innocent of Chersonese says: “It is only in the light of Christ that we can see God, see ourselves and see the world in its true aspect; it is only through the guidance of heavenly Revelation that we can find the path leading to life eternal.”

With those who hope for the consolation of Christ we are to share warmly the joy of today’s feast. Each of us can bring the light of the star of Bethlehem to those close to us and far from us – to our colleagues, friends, relatives and neighbors.

In the past year, working with the state authorities, public organizations and the representatives of the business community, many initiatives have been undertaken that can unite people and revive the strong spiritual and moral foundations of public life.

The development of this cooperation, as well as witness to the precious unity of our Church, was aided by my trips throughout Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. These visits enriched my experience of prayer and communion with the faithful and, I hope, helped to strengthen our spiritual ties. In divine worship attended by a huge number of people, the strength of faith and prayer which is the beauty of Orthodoxy, the beauty and power of “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), manifested itself in a special way.

In congratulating all of you on the Nativity of Christ and the New Year, I prayerfully wish that you abide unfailingly in the joy of the Lord who was incarnate so that “we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Amen.


Posted on

Запись Рождественского Патриаршего богослужения

В ночь с 6 на 7 января 2012 года, в праздник Рождества Господа Бога и Спаса нашего Иисуса Христа, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл совершил в кафедральном соборном Храме Христа Спасителя Рождественские богослужения — великое повечерие, утреню и Божественную литургию.

Posted on

Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion

NEW YORK: January 2, 2012

Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

from the Synod website

Most Reverend Fellow Archpastors, Most Honorable Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!

With profoundly-heartfelt spiritual joy I greet all the faithful children of the Russian Church Abroad, spread all over the world like kernels of God’s wheat, with the great and salutary Feast of Christ’s Nativity! May the Lord send all of us this joy which saves the world. This gladness is the fruit of the struggle of faith, and stems from the triumph of the Incarnation, from God becoming man, from hearing the celestial doxology from the heavens above the city of Bethlehem.

During the celebratory days which follow the Feast we especially feel God’s love for us, sinners. For though mankind turned away from its Maker, the Creator became a creature; Almighty God came down from the heavens and became one of us. He is born a helpless Infant in a humble cave where livestock is herded in bad weather. God becomes man to arrange for a mystical encounter, to destroy the barrier between Heaven and earth which was wrought by man’s sin.  This encounter must take place within our innermost selves and in our relationships with those in whom the image of God is reflected—our neighbors.

During these holy and joyful days each parish church becomes Bethlehem and the heart of every man becomes the cave. All over the world, God’s people fill our churches. But what takes place in the cave of the heart of each one of us when Christ and His Holy Family come knocking? Does our heart open? Does it receive the Lord and what does the Lord find inside? Let us contemplate this, dear fathers in Christ, brothers and sisters. Let us remember the words of Abba Makarios recorded in the book “Sayings Worth Remembering.”

Once, traveling across Egypt with a group of his brethren, Abba Makarios heard the words of a boy directed to his mother: “Dear Mother, a certain rich man loves me, but I hate him. Another man, a pauper, hates me, but I love him.” On hearing these words, Abba Makarios was surprised. The brethren asked him: “What do these words mean, and why have they amazed you so, father?” The elder answered them: “In truth, the Lord is wealthy and loves us, yet we do not want to obey Him. However, our enemy, the devil, is poor and hates us: yet we love his impurity.”

So, let us open wide our hearts and welcome the Son of God Who has come to earth. Let us add our voice to the doxology of the angels and worship Him with the magi. Let us rejoice in His love and mercy for us. Let each one of us, according to our meager strength, respond with love to His love. Let us find fulfillment in communion with Him. And let each of us exemplify a virtuous Christian life, thereby supporting our neighbor and showing him our heartfelt disposition.

God is with us with His grace and love for mankind always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

With love in Christ Who is born and a request for prayers,

Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Posted on

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST – Why should I be an Orthodox Christian?

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST – Why should I be an Orthodox Christian?


The word Gospel is used all the time in the media, by religious people, and even as a genre of music. But what is the Gospel?

The Gospel is the good news that:

I. Jesus is the Messiah.

II. Christ is risen!

III. We can be saved.

So what does this mean?
I. Jesus is the Messiah

It’s apparent to anyone who’s awake these days that there’s something wrong with the world. Of course, it’s not just the world that has something wrong with it, but as Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts.” Every human being has evil in his heart, whether he sees it or not, and this evil separates him from God, his Creator (Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn. 1:10). This is what sin is.

The word sin means “to miss the mark.” Sin is therefore not only separation from God but also the failure to live up to the full potential of what God created us to be, created beings filled with the uncreated energy of God Himself, in intimate communion with our Creator, united with Him in both body and soul (Eph. 4:13).

Jesus, Who is the eternal Son of God Who became a human being, just like any of us, is therefore our Messiah (“Christ,” “anointed one”) because He came to Earth to save us from the separation of sin and from the power of death. Because He is both God and man, He bridges within Himself the gap that formed because of sin. His coming was foretold in the ancient Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament), and when He came about 2,000 years ago, history was forever changed.

II. Christ is risen!

The greatest moment in the history of the world was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Leading up to that moment was His birth from the Virgin Mary by the will of God the Father and by the power of God the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:35). He grew up as one of us, lived, gathered His disciples around Himself, healed the sick, and taught about the Kingdom of God.

The defining moments of Jesus’ life on Earth were His suffering and death on the cross, followed by His miraculous bodily resurrection from the dead. Although people had been raised from the dead before in the history of God’s work with mankind, Jesus was the first to raise Himself from the dead, showing that He is God (Jn. 2:19).

Because Jesus is fully God, He has the power not only to forgive sins and restore mankind to sinlessness, but also to transform human persons to grow into the likeness of God Himself. And because Jesus is fully man, His deity filled His humanity and made possible the restoration and divinization (being filled up with and changed by God’s presence) of every aspect of what it means to be human.

To affirm that Christ is risen is to bear witness to and experience this reality, that sinful people can be united to Christ and healed of our spiritual wounds, given freedom from the power of death and separation from God (Heb. 2:14).

III. We can be saved.

Most of the time, when people talk about being “saved,” they only have in mind whether they will go to Heaven when they die. But salvation in Christ is much more. Because of Who Jesus Christ is, both God and man, He made possible the way for us to become like He is (Eph. 4:13; 1 Jn. 3:2). We can become by His grace what He Himself is by nature. That is, we can become human beings filled up with the divine presence. We who are made in God’s image can also take on His likeness, showing the presence of God to the whole world in our own presence.

This process requires participation in the life of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:18), repenting of sins (turning around and changing one’s life), being baptized into His death and resurrection (Col. 2:12), followed by being anointed with the gift of the Holy Spirit (chrismation/confirmation, Acts 2:38), and then partaking of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist (Jn. 6:53-56). This lifelong, sacramental, mystical experience of God Himself gradually changes flawed human beings into grace-filled, divinized sons and daughters of God.

The process of salvation involves a lifetime of struggle against our sinful tendencies, a serious dedication to put away the “old man” and to put on the “new” (2 Cor. 5:17). In doing so, sinners gradually transform into saints, the high calling of every man, woman and child on Earth.

So what about the Church?

When Jesus came to Earth, He founded a living community to be His Body of which He is the Head.          This     community ,    called   the      Church, began on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, soon spread throughout the Roman Empire, centered in the ancient cities of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem and then later beyond the imperial borders.

Over time, as heresies (false teachings) arose, various groups broke off from that first community of Christians. That original community remains, however, passing on the faith and experience given by Christ to His Apostles from one generation to another, without adding or subtracting anything.

That original Christian community is the Orthodox Christian Church (sometimes called “Eastern Orthodox” or “Greek Orthodox” or “Russian Orthodox). You are invited to come and see, to taste and experience the Gospel of Jesus Christ in your local Orthodox community. Come and spend a month of Sundays with us and experience how the God-man Jesus Christ wants to transform you.

Come and visit our Church

Posted on

Проповедь Патриарха в день памяти свт. Николая

Москва, 19 декабря 2011 года. В день памяти святителя Николая, архиепископа Мир Ликийских, чудотворца, Святейший Патриарх Московский и всея Руси Кирилл совершил Божественную литургию в подмосковном Николо-Угрешском ставропигиальном мужском монастыре и возглавил хиротонию архимандрита Пахомия (Брускова) во епископа Покровского и Николаевского.