Excerpts from Sermons: True Freedom Can only Be Found in Love.

By Fr. Valery Zakharov
The Lord endows everyone with some talents. Some have the gift of sharing, some have the gift of caring, some have the gift of daring, and some have the gift of thanksgiving. Everything we’ve got is a gift from God. We came into this world naked; we did not have anything. We’ve got what we’ve got only thanks to his mercy towards us. We may imagine that we earned this with our hard work, our own efforts, our diligence, which, by the way, is also granted to us by the Lord. How long does a person have to live in order to finally comprehend his connection with God and the mercy that the Lord pours onto us every day and every hour, starting with the least noticeable things like the ability to breathe?!
Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on December 17, 2017
Pride engenders antagonism. One’s heart finds peace when God dwells in it. When we are peaceful, God is with us. The rest is our pride. I would like this gift of a peaceful heart that the Lord grants to us to remain with us at all times, so that we wouldn’t get annoyed, bossy and so that our words would be filled with this spirit of peace, calmness, and love.
Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on July 29, 2017
I’m not sure that we have truly mastered the ability to love. That is why we must exercise it every day, every hour, and every minute. We have the opportunity to learn to love while we are still alive. Love is the language of the Heavenly Kingdom. There are no other languages in Heaven: no English, no Russian, no Czech, no Bulgarian – the Heaven’s only language is the language of love. We should use the time here on earth to learn to love. We have everything we need to practise love: there are people around us waiting for us to share our joy of being with God.
Sermon after the Divine Liturgy in the Boarding Home for Children with Special Needs on July 30, 2017
By Fr. George Glinsky
Hieromartyr Irenaeus of Lyon wrote, “God became man so that man could become a son of God.” It was made possible by the advent of the only begotten Son of God, who came into our world so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, and thus revealed his love. He makes every person free from the bonds of sin and pays for these slaves with his own Son who becomes sin for us, accepting not only the limitations of human existence (which had been caused by the Fall) but also the entire abyss of the sin. Christ experienced the results of excommunication from God to the full extent. Moreover, it is not just some legal quandary, as some people tend to think. It reflects the quintessence of our relations with God. This is why we hear during the Divine Liturgy on Christmas night, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (cf. Gal. 4: 6). By having that Spirit, we are adopted by God and dare call him our Father and pray to him like a child talks with his loving parent. Thanks to being adopted by God and feeling that we are God’s children, we naturally lay a great deal of trust upon God and expect him to lead us away from the abyss of this life, with all its troubles, sorrows, and hardships, and to bring us into the Kingdom of blissful life, the Kingdom of love where, as Apostle Paul wrote, God will be all in all (cf.: 1 Cor. 15: 28).
Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on January 10, 2018
When we speak about the salvation that Christ opens to us, we say that we are waiting for him. He is the object of our aspirations and the source of our salvation. With that said, we understand that the Lord imposes some obligations on us. The Lord hopes that our lives will be so pure, nice, and harmonious as to herald to the whole world about the Risen Lord and the salvation that He brings. The people who see our good actions will praise our Heavenly Father and receive salvation through Christ by accepting him as their Saviour who unlocks the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, let us be careful with our lives so as not to carry the filth that we have seen in this world into the Church but instead uphold the Church as the pillar and the support of the truth that spreads its light throughout the world.
Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on January 16, 2018
By Fr. Eugene Pavelchuk
The Church is both divine and human. It provides us with some kind of a grace-filled environment where we can change and get as close to the ideal — that is, God — as possible. Each person has his own way of connecting to God. The Lord said, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (cf. Matthew 5: 48).
True freedom can only be found in love.
The devil’s lie is that he wants to tempt our hearts by passions, attractions, and lust, and divert us from the only true purpose, which is the source of happiness and real life. It is God who is our life, joy, and happiness. O Lord, don’t let me be hooked by this lie. Help me to remain faithful, for yours is the Kingdom, and power, and glory unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on November 7, 2017
Sometimes people come to church for a confession or for any other reason, and say, “Father, I have sinned, I rarely go to church.” “Why do you go to church rarely?” “I have no time.” “How come?” “I’m busy.” “What are you busy with?” “I have to work 12 hours a day.” What do you say to that person? What do you say to yourself when you dive deep into the vanity of this world and prefer to do less important things instead of focusing on the most important ones? It’s like a cancer patient who doesn’t go to a chemo because he has no time, he has a lot of work to do. Can you imagine that anyone says so if they’ve realised that they’re terminally ill? I guess not. Why do people say so when it comes to the healing of their souls and dealing with God? It sounds irrational and silly but people still act like that. Instead of saving their souls — instead of choosing God and prioritising him over everything else, people are busy dealing with trivial things of vanishingly minor importance.
Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on December 12, 2017
By Fr. Rodion Alkhovik
People here on earth are afraid of the smallest problems. They are ready to quit and abandon everything from the start just to protect themselves from pain and difficulties. Nowadays we see that people give up their children, their spouses, and try to run away from their problems with the help of alcohol and mind-altering drugs. It is God’s grace that can help an individual to solve these problems and not just put up with them but to stand strong in the epicentre of those problems. Christians have always been in the places where there were hardships, sorrows, and death. Common people were running away from epidemics but Christians went there and died — but they kept going there because they knew that Christ was there. Christ is where people suffer and are ill. He says, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Cf. John 16: 33).
Sermon after the All-Night Vigil on December 20, 2017
The purpose of any kind of wealth that a person possesses lies in sharing it with others. St Ambrose of Optina said that the Lord makes a person rich in order to test how merciful and magnanimous he will be as a Christian. There have been many cases when people used to be poor but merciful and then received wealth and became greedy, selfish, disgruntled, and angry. It’s easy to get mired in opulence and remain attached to money believing that money is the meaning of one’s life. There are many people who say they don’t have enough. We keep thinking about money; we would like to have more money and better life conditions, and so on. However, the Lord who can see through our hearts, gives us exactly as much as we need. That’s why if one trusts in God and thanks him, he will have enough; but if a person is ungrateful, he will want more and more. Our task is to learn to use the resources that the Lord gives us, and to thank him for everything.
Sermon after the Divine Liturgy on December 14, 2017
May 25, 2018
St. Elisabeth Convent
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