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Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

CHRISTMAS 7 January 1989

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. In one of the texts of the Holy Scriptures we are told that the world had waxed old, had decayed in the course of centuries since man had lost touch with God, since communion between God and man had become dimmed. And Saint Paul says that the whole creation is waiting with longing for the revelation of the children of God, for the moment when man will have become Man again in the fullness, in all the beauty of the glory of his vocation. And on the day when we remember the Nativity of Christ, the Incarnation of the Son of God, we can see that the beginning of a new time has come, that this world that had gone old because God was, as it were, far away from it - great, awe-inspiring but distant, had come to an end. GOD IS IN OUR MIDST: this is the meaning of the word ‗Emmanuel‘; God with us - and the world is no longer the same. We live in a world into which God has come, in which He is the living power, the inspiration, Life itself, Eternity itself already come. And this is why Saint John the Divine in the Book of the Revelation, speaking of Christ as the End, uses in Greek not the neuter which would be right, but the masculine: because ‗The End‘ is not a moment in time, the End is not something that happens, but Someone that comes. Yes, we are waiting for the day when God will come in glory, when all history will be up, when all things will be summed up, when God shall be all in all; but already now God is in our midst; already now we have a vision of what man is by vocation and can be by participation. But this is an offer; God gives His love, God gives Himself - not only in the Holy Gifts of Communion, but in all possible ways He is ready to enter into our lives, to fill our hearts, to be enthroned in our minds, to be the will of our will, but to do that, to allow Him to do that we must give ourselves to Him, we must respond to love by love, to faith - the faith which God has in us - by faith that is trust and faithfulness to Him. And then - then, we, each of us singly and all of us in our togetherness, will become God's Kingdom come with power, the beginning of the fullness of time, the beginning of the glorious victory! Isn't that something which is worth struggling for? Isn't it worth turning away from everything that separates us from our own integrity, from one another, from God, and allow ourselves to become new creatures? Let us now, now that the beginning has come, and in a way the end is already in our midst, let us do it: overcome all that is unworthy of ourselves and allow God victoriously to transfigure our lives! Glory be to God for His love! Glory be to God for the faith He has in us, and for the hope He has put into us! Amen! Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh NATIVITY OF CHRIST 7 January 1990 In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We are keeping a Feast which is the decisive point in the history not only of mankind but of the whole Cosmo God, the Living God has taken flesh, thereby becoming a man among men, and yet, revealing to us all the greatn all the immensity of what man is; but at the same time uniting Himself to a human body that stands as an image o all things created. He has become akin to all the materiality of this world: everything, beginning with the smalles atom and ending with the greatest galaxy can now recognise itself fulfilled, revealed in glory in the Body of Incarnation.

But we must also ask ourselves questions about ourselves. Because God has called us to enter into this myster of communion with God; God has called us to understand the way in which we can become partakers of the divin nature, to use the words of Saint Peter in one of his Epistles. Let us therefore cast a glance at the people involved this glorious, mysterious night of the Incarnation: The Mother of God, perfectly surrendered, perfectly given to God in all Her purity and in all Her humility; a

Living Offering capable of uniting Herself to God in such a way that He became flesh. One day in history, a mai of Israel proved capable of bowing down before the greatness of God, and receiving what cannot be received otherwise than in humility and obedience. She was able to pronounce the Name of God in worship with all Her mind, and heart, and flesh - and God became man in Her. And we all are called to open ourselves to God, we all are called to let God enter into our lives, fill each of us and this happens incipiently, almost imperceptibly when we receive Communion. We become partakers of His humanity and the dwelling place of His divinity. If we only could with greater depth, greater faith, and indeed greater faithfulness keep the gift of this Communion...

And then, there is Joseph; Joseph who is bewildered both by the message of the Angel and by what is happeni bewildered - at time in wonder, and at time in doubt. Isn't this an image of many of us? But how did he face his doubt and still remain in wonder? Because he believed; because he accepted the fact that there are many things which cannot be understood with the intellect, but can be perceived, which can be experienced. And he did, indee experienced what was going on: he saw. He saw the Virgin birth, he saw the presence of the God Who have beco man. And what is our way, how can we find our way towards God? Let us think of the Magi and of the shepherds.

The Magi were people of knowledge, people of science; but it is not science that gave them wisdom; it its the contemplation of the created world and their gradual, ever-deepening wonder before what they saw; and the mor they knew, the humbler they were, the more they knew, the more open they were to all that God would reveal to them about the depth, the mystery, the beauty, and the terrifying depths of the created. And because they were fu of wonder, because they were open to the discovery of the unknown, of the unthinkable, they were brought to tha place, where the unthinkable has taken place: the incarnation of God.

And then, there were the shepherds, men without knowledge, but they had purity of heart; they had simplicity; they were capable of listening to the message which the Angels brought not only with their ears, but with their inmost self; they recognised the truth of the message because it gave them life, joy, hope - and they found Christ

And what is the Incarnation about if it is not about the love of God? And it is revealed to us in a way in which love can reveal itself to us: surrendered, frail, totally within our power to destroy and to hurt; this Babe of Bethlehem is the perfect image of love, given, but perhaps, received by the ones - and indeed, as we know, reject by the others.

And so is the love of God. God created us in order that we might be loved by Him with all His being; and in th He accepted beforehand the Crucifixion, because He gave us power to reject His love. We see that now exemplif in Christ, in the Incarnation, in God becoming Man. The Gospel speaks of it: the few responded to the love of Go the many passed Him by, and many shouted, ―Crucify Him, crucify Him!‘, because the message of love, of that l which is God's love, the total gift of self was too much: it had to be erased in favour of selfish, limited love - if th can be called love.

Let us therefore try to learn from the people who were there: from the Mother of God and Her perfect freedom give Herself, and Her perfect generosity in doing so; Her perfect ability to believe, to trust God at any cost, at all risks. Let us think of Joseph between wonder and doubt; and when we are in the same position, let us not only concentrate on our doubt, but look with wonder at the impossible, unthinkable that is God's way in our midst.

And then, let us learn, when we face the world that surround us, dark and mysterious, so deep, so frightening, entrancing also, - let us learn to look at it with wonder: not to pass judgments, but look, look so deeply as to see i depth and the meaning of things. And this we can do ultimately only if we learn to have a pure heart, to cleanse ourselves from selfishness, from hatred, from everything that is darkness in our souls and in our lives. And than we also, sooner or later, or rather from time to time, will find ourselves face to face with the love of God, offering itself to us frail, vulnerable, awaiting from us a response: let us then give this response.

But this response is to be given not only to God Whom we do not see, but to everyone who surrounds us, beca Christ has said to us, ‗Whatever you have done to one of these, you have done to Me‘. It is by loving concretely, actively, generously, at a cost those whom God sends us, those whom we meet in life that we can learn that love, love of God. Amen.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh BAPTISM OF CHRIST-18 January 1979
In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

When a human enters into the world, he enters from nowhere, from total, radical absence enters through the gate of time in order to grow into eternity. He enters an ephemeral world in order to become citizen of God‘s Kingdom When Christ was born, the Eternal entered into the narrow limits of time; He Who was immensity itself was limited by space and became a man in the flesh although the fullness of the Godhead abided, dwelt in this human frame. He entered into a world of sin in order to overcome sin, and in a world of suffering to endure it all togethe with us.

But on the day of His Incarnation God delivered unto us in the frailty of the child of Bethlehem the fullness of H love, and love is always defenseless and frail, abandoned and surrendered. It was an act of God by which He gav Himself to us and in which the humanity of the Incarnate Son of God was helplessly delivered into the history of mankind.

When we are baptised, we are plugged into waters that cleanse us from sin. When Christ came unto Jordan, He came sinless, but this time in the maturity of manhood, at a point at which His human will, identified with the wi of God, made Him a self-offering; He brought Himself there to begin, to start the way to the Cross. Thousands were baptised in the Jordan, and each of them proclaimed his sins, and these waters of Jordan were heavy with th murderous sins of men. Christ had no sin to proclaim and to confess, and when He entered into these waters of Jordan, He entered, to use an image of a contemporary divine, as one plunges, walks into a dye — He was dyed with the darkness of our sins. He came out of it carrying all the sins of the world. He came out of the waters of Jordan loaded with the condemnations that lay upon the world. And there is the time when He begins His ascent the Cross.

We are now keeping the feast of the Baptism of Christ, a dread event, an event that should keep us spellbound, in awe: Him Who is pure shares the impurity of sin universal so that He may save us. We will bless the waters, the natural waters that surround us and pray the Lord to send upon these waters grace and blessing for them to becom pure and holy, endowed with the power to cleanse and to renew, to make us and all the objects and all the places where they will be sprinkled, partakers of this purity of the waters of Jordan who had touched the holy body of th Incarnation, which had taken upon Himself all the evil of world. So let us pray that the grace of the Spirit of God may come upon these waters and that they may be truly blessing and salvation by the power of Christ, by the power and dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh ZACCHAEUS 20 JANUARY 1991 In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. In these weeks of preparation for Lent, we were faced last Sunday with the story of Barthimaeus to attract our attention on our own blindness; our spiritual blindness of which we are not aware while physical blindness is so clearly perceived; but also on the fact that if we want to recover our sight, our spiritual vision, our understanding of self, of God, of our neighbour, of life, there is only one person to whom we can turn - it is God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Bartimaeus have tried all means to recover his sight, but it is only when he turned to Christ that he did recover it. Whether we have taken advantage of the past week to reflect deeply on our own blindness, and in the darkness to begin to see some light, I do not know; each of us will have to answer for his eagerness or his laziness.

the beauty of what he did was totally marred because it was addressed neither to God nor to his neighbour. knowing that he is unworthy of entering this sacred space goes back home forgiven. from the only thing that can heal us and give us new life. otherwise than in adoration and the fear of God. hoping for their approval. the inner call to discover everything provided you can see Christ face to face? Is vanity stronger in us or the hunger for God? And Saint John of the Ladder says clearly that vanity is contempt of God and cowardice before men.. but this does not mean that we like beggars not turn to them. into a sacred realm which in a world that is lost to God belongs to Him unreservedly. who recognises his need for salvation. of God. and doesn't even dare cross the threshold: he is a sinner. how challenging.But today we are confronted with a new parable. poisoned by pride. Don't! Don't make yourself ridiculous! Don't single yourself out by a search which is not necessary. or the hunger each of us has. the Son. loved. God is peripheric to him. And the parable is clear: the man who came and stood brokenhearted.or not? And in our circumstances it is not so much people who will prevent us. that people should not jeer at you. at times. he is at the center. it simply means that as far as he is concerned. a man who not only keeps all the commandments of the Law. but they were spoiled. the revelation of God‘s holiness. we are respected are we going to start on a road that will make us into what Paul calls 'the scum of the earth‘. into His Divine Realm. but he goes home less forgiven. the Pharisee. you have got everything. by self-assertion. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh THE PUBLICAN AND THE PHARISEE 4 February 1990 In the Name of the Father. This story speaks to us again directly and the question which is been asked from us is this: What matters to me more? The good opinion of people around me. turn away from our search. how intense its message. The other one comes. Zacchaeus was rich. they will not laugh at us: they will be totally indifferent. and the Holy Ghost. Zacchaeus was known as an honorable citizen . he is at the heart of things. Indeed. provided we can meet God . How short. like the space around the Burning Bush in the desert which Moses could not enter without having unshod his feet. so worthy of Him. or the necessity. is so wonderful that he is God's own glory. he gives Him glory . a man so holy. he stands before God praising Him. indeed: accompanied by God Himself Who came into the world to save sinners and Who stands by everyone who needs Him. the shining. it has born no fruit of holiness in himself. empty. And one of the men walks boldly into it. The Pharisee goes home. ashamed of himself. saying. to meet Him. debase us? This is the question which today's story of Zacchaeus says to us: is vanity. God is subservient to him. it . And how different the words spoken! Apparently the Pharisee praises God. people will not jeer at us. or rather. that he. and the Realm is holy.. and in order to receive this approval. It does not mean that what he did was worthless.but for what? Because He has made a man like him. and the fear of other people's opinion that will prevail. Also. we will find within ourselves conflicting voices. and how well known is today's parable. Two men come into the church of God. but goes beyond of what God Himself has commanded and can expect of man. and yet. that is the search of things which are vain. laugh at you because you are seeking to see God.so are we! We possess so much. The Publican does not even dare enter into the holy Realm of God. a new story of the life of Christ: the story of Zacchaeus. What is our attitude: are we prepared to discard everything. acute for a meeting with the living God? Amen. his relationship with God is not the same. The deeds were good. Intense it is in its very words. takes a stand before God.

has taken away from him the fruits of his good works. to be brothers and sisters of Christ. we know small ways and small aspects of it! Let us reflect on it.what power have we got over them when God does no longer sustain them? The greatest intelligence can of a sudden be swallowed into darkness by a stroke. And our body depends on so many things! And what of our relationships. the love which sustains us. and one could go on. and. of body and soul. all those circumstances..all that is gift! And then. of the friendship which is given us. no love to bring love. but turning to God and saying: O. he echoes at this point what Christ said in the first Beatitude. that only humility could have given him and his action full meaning. and that means that He trusts us . Blessed are those who know. a sensitive heart. not only with their intellect . and that we are open to Him like the earth. But then. priding ourselves of what we are and forgetting that all that is HIS.. but fruitful.but at least with their intellect! that they are nothing. man! What have you got which was not given you?!. And we are told that this pride has despoiled this man. the awareness that He is all we possess. however fruitful our action may be. all that we are. destructive. the question stands before us: how can we learn anything about humility if that is the absolute condition to be not like the barren fig tree. and Saint Paul knew it already when he said: The good which I love.. or in sacrament .. and indeed.and He grants it all in an act of love! Let each of us reflect and ask himself: in what way can he or she be so grateful in such a way that God could rejoice that He has not given in vain. that only humility could have made his actions into life. lived and died in vain. there are moments when we are confronted with a need that requires all our sympathy. who can communicate it to everyone who doesn‘t know? But gratitude we all know. gratitude means that we wish to make Him see that all that was not given in vain.but what is humility? Who of us knows. We want to do good . to the . that we have received the message. intelligence. but adoration. the Beatitude that opens the door to all other Beatitudes.. into the waters of life gushing into eternity. our soul . We were called into being out of naught. where there is no joy to bring joy. seeing that when we are send into the darkness it is to be God's presence and God's life. call out of ourselves. been in vain. and the wrong which I hate I do continuously.was turned in on himself.. a deeper. without our participation: our very existence is a gift! We were given life which we could not create.and we cannot. vanity into humility in a single unless something so tragic happens to us that we see ourselves. I don't do. that He did not become man. lived. the fruit of his outward faithfulness to the law of God. all the circumstances of life are a gift! Indeed. on.and we discover that our hearts are of stone and of ice.He trusts us.and He calls us to commune with Him! We have no right to be His children. the ideal would be for us to be humble . And indeed. God! All that is a gift from You! all that beauty. to be the dwelling place of the Spirit . died in vain. our heart. all our love . on.. He believes in us. the rich earth is open to the plough. let us in an act of gratitude recognise that we have no right to be in God‘s own realm . Yes.and He lets us in! We have no right to commune to Him either in prayer. He hopes for us everything: isn't that enough to be grateful? But gratitude is not just a cold word of thanks. We have been given the knowledge of the existence of God. and learn what humility is not abasement. the Beatitude which is the beginning of understanding: Blessed are the poor in spirit. And if we grow in a true depth of gratitude. adore the Lord. barren condition. even those which frighten us are a gift because God says to us: I trust you enough to send you into the darkness to bring light! I send you into corruption to be the salt that stops corruption! I send you where there is no hope to bring hope. the comradeship . and if someone knows. we can remember the words of Saint Paul: O. gratitude means a life that could give joy to God: this is a challenge of this particular parable. our mind.. and they possess nothing which is not a gift of God. all that we are is a gift of God: our body.everything that we are and which we possess is a gift: what is the next move: isn't it gratitude? Can‘t we turn to God not as a pharisee. to be rich harvest and from whom people can be fed? I do not think that we can move from pride. we discover ourselves completely bereft of everything that supported our sinful. But there is one thing which we can do: however much we think that we are possessed of gifts of all sorts of heart and mind. more intimate knowledge of God .. at the depth of gratitude we will knock down.

to identify with the sinner who has found his way to God. to the sunshine. And yet. those whose interest is at the very centre of our life. either out of being the elder son.sowing. Let us think of ourselves. to the seed. more blessed than the other one. that God was forgetting his faithfulness. do not hear a word of encouragement. by the destiny of the elder son . here was the father. for whom we slave perhaps.never recognised and always expected to do the right thing unflinchingly and perfectly. and every time I notice how easy it is for me . the victim of the son's rejection. his sense of dutiful obedience. he understood what it meant that his younger brother had been truly dead and had come to life. faithfully. of incredible insensitiveness. do not receive the slightest reward because. We. the prodigal son had come back broken-hearted. still found his way home. he had been unfaithful to their father. as the father did with regard to the elder son. In spite of the fact that he received no visible reward or no visible acknowledgement he remained faithful. who was no brother to him. Let us find our own place in this tragic and beautiful parable because then we may find our way. unable to walk even into the holy space of God.not in fact. a turn-about cannot bring us and that there is one at least .yet. He did not say that the pharisee went without the love of God accompanying him.unless. the Son and the Holy Ghost. a joy in his father. so much less devoted to the interests of our father. Isn't it natural? Isn't he my son? Isn't he my father? Isn't he my brother? Isn't he my spouse? Isn't he my friend? Doesn't all this imply total. unlimited devotion which is its own reward? How cruel we are so often to the people who surround us and who are put by us in the position of the elder son . who forgave wholeheartedly and tenderly. forgetful of self. And how rarely I was touched to the quick by the destiny of the pharisee. confronted with the father's compassion. Time and again I have occasion to preach on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. plod on with his stem faithfulness. on the story of the Publican and the Pharisee. How hard we are when we think of him as of one who deserves little of our sympathy. so perfectly and steadily obedient to the call of duty as he was when we are not met with recognition. There was something indeed lacking in him . About the publican He said: And this man went home more forgiven. all his life he had made his father's interests his concern . he was unforgivable. so much less honest. And again today we find ourselves face-to-face with the elder son. he was ready to become new.a warmth. though perhaps so much less dutiful. our friends. without paying attention to tiredness.God . or else perhaps. can we find in our heart a creative sympathy for the younger son and learn from him first that there is never a situation out of which a honest repentance. to everything in order to bring fruit. Amen! Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh SUNDAY OF THE PRODIGAL SON 19 February 1984 In the name of the Father. But there was one thing which is so impressive in him .and probably one person.he had worked hard. Indeed. he remained faithful. our relatives. all of us.he slaved. but how few of us are capable of being so faithful. while the other one could only go on. those who surround us. but in imagination . light-mindedness. with the publican who stood broken-hearted at the gate of the church. cruelty. a tenderness. of cruelty. not in reality. to the rain. but also all of us have someone whom we treat as contemptuously and harshly as the elder brother treated his younger brother whom he had written off. as he says . God condemned neither of the two. All his life he had lived side-by-side with his father. without claiming any reward just because he felt it was right to do so. take it for granted. unless . had been truly lost and was found. the prodigal son had warmth. in spite of the fact that his heart was not aglow. or with the prodigal son. those whom we serve. who in spite of grievous sin.his faithfulness. he worked. or . have someone around us whom we treat with the same coldness with which we think of the elder brother.

he was greedy. perhaps someone we knew. the unnecessary object which we possessed . utterly. He might have said to the Lord: But have I not prayed so often in Thy Temple? He would have heard the words which I quoted a moment ago. it may be at a moment when we are suddenly illumined. the kind of piety which one can put in inverted commas. So. then the doors are open for you to enter into the Kingdom and to become by communion with God. March 6. who are ready to receive us. he realized that he was totally. the Body of Christ. it is not praying if we pray unworthily. of the Testament that was the rule of the nation. and he beat his breast saying: Forgive me. If you have. I am a sinner. towards a healing of our life and soul. have we not sung Thy glory? And I shall say to them: Go away from me doers of iniquity. redeem us. and he might have remembered also a passage from the Old Testament that says that the prayer of one who does not forgive his brother is abomination before the face of the Lord. 1994. with this clarity. A day will come. as it appears clearly from this passage of the Gospel. but inwardly he had remained cold and dead to the only thing that matters . hopelessly unworthy. did your heart turn to him in compassion and did you give him food? When you saw someone homeless. become one with Him and grow into being the Temple of the Spirit. The Gospel which we read on the Day of the Publican and the Pharisee already tells us something about this. It is not strict adherence to forms of life. not sacramental communion. There is a passage of the Gospel in which the Lord says: It is not everyone who will have called Me 'Lord. His only question is: have you been human in the simplest way in which any pagan can be human? Anyone can be human who has a heart that can respond.many. nothing at all. this sharpness and His . That is a first step towards forgiveness. To-day we are confronted with something else. He will ask us: Have you been human. alive for eternity? None of these can be true. it is not by outward signs of piety that we shall find salvation. that saves us. As I said before. of being like Christ. But if we have been inhuman. There will be such who will come to Me and say. did you think of a way of providing a roof and a little warmth and safety for him? When we were told that someone. it is not piety. Lord' who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He was a traitor to his nation. and it may not be after we die. Amen. not daring even to enter the Temple. restore us and allow us to begin a new life together .did we turn and do that? That is all the Lord is asking concerning the Last Judgement. how can we think of being divine? How can we think of being partakers of the Divine Nature. And today. In the name of the Father. because the Temple was the place where the Lord lives. the Son and the Holy Ghost. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Sunday of the Last Judgement Sunday. possessed of the Holy Spirit. More than once does the Gospel give us a warning on the way in which we shall be judged and on the way in which we can save ourselves from condemnation. that we will ask ourselves: Where is salvation? Can I hope for anything at all? We have had the first answer to this question in the person of the publican. he was unworthy of his people. Have we not broken bread in the precincts of Thy Temple? Have we not prayed. a place as holy as God's presence makes it. or inhuman? When you saw someone who was hungry. we are confronted with the Judgement. will ask us nothing about the tenets of our faith. and go to visit him? When we saw someone to whom we could give the surplus of what we have. younger and elder brother. did we overcome the shame of being his or her friend.loving. but a deeper communion even than the Sacrament. and he stood. And so we are confronted to-day with the Gospel of the Last Judgement. or about the way in which we have tried outwardly to please Him. when light comes into our mind. had disgraced himself and been put into prison. the unnecessary coat. a place of His incarnate presence.father. He could pride himself on nothing. The Lord at the Last Judgement. The pharisee had been faithful in everything outwardly. And yet.

mercy. Because God is merciful; He warns us in time. It takes one moment to change one's life. It is one moment that is needed, not years, so that the oldest of us can in one moment see the ugliness, the horror, the emptiness, the evil of our lives, and turn to God with a cry, crying for mercy. And the youngest can learn now that it is time, step by step, to be simply human. If we are human, then we become the friends of God, because to be a Christian means to choose Christ for one's friend. And you know what friendship means; it means solidarity, it means loyalty, it means faithfulness, it means being at one in soul, in heart, in action with the one who is our friend. This is the choice we all have made, seemingly, and forgotten so often. So to-day we are confronted with this Gospel of the Judgement. But we can do something now to face it. After the Service, at the doors, there will be a collection for "Crisis". "Crisis" is an organization which looks after those who are homeless and have to live on the streets, who depend on the passer-by to have a chance to eat, who depend on the mercy of people. Well, face today's reading of the Gospel. Face it not only emotionally but in fact, and when you are confronted with a plate at the doors of the Church, give, give generously, give with your whole heart, give as you would wish to be given if you were in the street, unprotected, alone, hoping beyond hope, or having lost all hope in human charity. We have got a few moments to do a thing which is infinitely simple. Let us do it, and may God's blessing be upon anyone who will have done something, not just a little, but as much as possible, to enable another person to stay alive, to breathe, not to collapse.

Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Forgiveness Sunday 19February 25, 1996 In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. To-day two themes dominate the readings of the Holy Scriptures. St Paul speaks to us about fasting and the Lord about forgiveness, and St Paul insists on the fact that fasting does not consist simply of depriving oneself of one form of food or another, neither does it, if it is kept strictly, obediently, worshipfully, give us any ground to be proud of ourselves, satisfied and secure, because the aim of fasting is not to deprive our body of the one form of food rather than the other, the aim of fasting is to acquire mastery over our body and make it a perfect instrument of the spirit. Most of the time we are slaves of our bodies, we are attracted by all our senses to one form or another of enjoyment, but of an enjoyment which goes far beyond the purity which God expects of us. And so, the period of fasting offers us a time during which we can say not that I will torment my body, limit myself in things material, but a time when I will re-acquire mastery of my body, make it a perfect instrument. The comparison that comes to my mind is that of tuning a musical instrument; this is what fasting is, to acquire the power not only to command our body, but also to give our body the possibility to respond to all the promptings of the spirit. Let us therefore go into fasting with this understanding, not measuring our fasting by what we eat and how much, but of the effect it has on us, whether our fasting makes us free or whether we become slaves of fasting itself. If we fast let us not be proud of it, because it proves simply that we need more perhaps than another person to conquer something in our nature. And if around us other people are not fasting let us not judge them, because God has received the ones as He receives the others, because it is into the heart of men that He looks. And then there is the theme of forgiveness, of which I will say only one short thing. We think always of forgiveness as a way in which we would say to a person who has offended, hurt, humiliated us, that the past is past and that we do not any more hold a grudge against this person. But what forgiveness means more deeply than this is that if we can say to a person: let us no longer make the past into a destructive

present, let me trust you, make an act of faith in you, if I forgive you it means in my eyes you are not lost, in my eyes there is a future of beauty and truth in you. But this applies also to us. Perversely, we think very often of forgiving others, but we do not think sufficiently of the need in which we are, each of us personally, of being forgiven by others. We have a few hours left between the Liturgy and the Service of Forgiveness tonight, let us reflect and try to remember, not the offences which we have suffered, but the hurts which we have caused. And if we have hurt anyone in one way or another, in things small or great, let us make haste before we enter into Lent tomorrow morning, let us make haste to ask to be forgiven, to hear someone say to us: in spite of all that has happened I believe in you, I trust you, I hope for you and I will expect everything from you. And then we can go together through Lent helping one another to become what we are called to be - the disciples of Christ, following Him step by step to Calvary, and beyond Calvary to the Resurrection. Amen.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY 16 March 1997

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. We are keeping today, as every year at the end of the first week of Lent, the Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. And every year we must give thought to what is meant, not only as a historical event, but also in our personal lives. First of all we must remember that the Triumph of Orthodoxy is not the Triumph of the Orthodox over other people. It is the Triumph of the Truth Divine in the hearts of those who belong to the Orthodox Church and who proclaim the Truth revealed by God in its integrity and directness. Today we must thank God with all our hearts that He has revealed Himself to us, that He has dispelled darkness in the minds and hearts of thousands and thousands of people, that He who is the Truth has shared the knowledge of the perfect Truth Divine with us. The occasion of this feast was the recognition of the legitimacy of venerating icons. By doing this we proclaim that God - invisible, ineffable, the God whom we cannot comprehend, has truly become man, that God has taken flesh, that He has lived in our midst full of humility, of simplicity, but of glory also. And proclaiming this we venerate the icons not as idols, but as a declaration of the Truth of the Incarnation. By doing this we must not forget that it is not the icons of wood and of paint, but God who reveals Himself in the world. Each of us, all men, were created in the image of God. We are all living icons, and this lays upon us a great responsibility because an icon may be defaced, an icon may be turned into a caricature and into a blasphemy. And we must think of ourselves and ask ourselves: are we worthy, are we capable of being called "icons", images of God? A western writer has said that meeting a Christian, those who surround him should see him as a vision, a revelation of something they have never perceived before, that the difference between a non-Christian and a Christian is as great, as radical, as striking, as the difference there is between a statue and a living person. A statue may be beautiful, but it is made of stone or of wood, and it is dead. A human being may not at first appear as possessed of such a beauty, but those who meet him should be able, as those who venerate an icon - blessed, consecrated by the Church - should see in him the shining of the presence of the Holy Spirit, see God revealing Himself in the humble form of a human being. As long as we are not capable of being such a vision to those who surround us, we fail in our duty, we do not proclaim the Triumph of Orthodoxy through our life, we give a lie to what we proclaim. And therefore each of us, and all of us collectively, bear every responsibility for the fact that the world meeting Christians by the million is not converted by the vision of God's presence in their midst, carried indeed in earthen vessels, but glorious, saintly, transfiguring the world.

What is true about us, simply, personally, is as true about our churches. Our churches were called by Christ as a family, a community of Christians to be a body of people who are united with one another by total love, by sacrificial love, a love that is God's love to us. The Church was called, and is still called, to be a body of people whose characteristic is to be the incarnate love of God. Alas, in all our churches what we see is not the miracle of love divine. From the very beginning, alas, the Church was built according to the images of the State - hierarchical, strict, formal. In this we have failed - to be truly what the early, first community of Christians were. Tertullian writing in defence of the Christians said to the Emperor of Rome: "When people meet us they are arrested and say: 'How these people love one another!'" We are not collectively a body of people about whom one could say this. And we must learn to recreate what God has willed for us, what has once existed: to recreate communities, churches, parishes, dioceses, patriarchates, the whole church, in such a way that the whole of life, the reality of life should be that of love. Alas, we have not learned this yet. And so, when we keep the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy we must remember that God has conquered, that we are proclaiming the truth, God's own Truth, Himself incarnate and revealed, and there is a great responsibility for all of us collectively and singly in this world, that we must not give the lie to what we proclaim by the way in which we live. A western theologian has said that we may proclaim the whole truth of Orthodoxy and at the same time deface it, give it the lie by the way in which we live, showing with our life that all these were words, but not reality. We must repent of this, we must change, we must become such that people meeting us should see God's truth, God's light, God's love in us individually and collectively. As long as we have not done this we have not taken part in the Triumph of Orthodoxy. God has triumphed, but He has put us in charge of making his triumph the triumph of life for the whole world. Therefore, let us learn to live according to the Gospel which is the Truth and the Life, not only individually but collectively, and build societies of Christians that are a revelation of it, so that the world looking at us may say: "Let us re-shape our institutions, re-shape our relationships, renew all that has gone or remains old and become a new society in which the Law of God, the Life of God can prosper and triumph. Amen.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Saint Gregory Palamas Sunday-11 March 1990
In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. In one of the Psalms we can read the following words: Those who have sown with tears will reap with joy... If in the course of weeks of preparation we have seen all that is ugly and unworthy in us mirrored in the parables, if we have stood before the judgement of our conscience and of our God, then we have truly sown in tears our own salvation. And yet, there is still time because even when we enter into the time of the harvest, God gives us a respite; as we progress towards the Kingdom of God, towards the Day of the Resurrection, we still can, at every moment, against the background of salvation, in the face of the victory of God, turn to Him with gratitude and yet, brokenheartedness, and say, ‗Oh, Lord! I am perhaps the worker of the eleventh hour, but receive me as Thou promised to do!‘ Last week we have kept the day of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the day when the Church proclaimed that it was legitimate and right to paint icons of Christ. It was not a declaration about art, it was a deeply theological proclamation of the Incarnation. The Old Testament said to us that God cannot be represented by any image because He was inscrutable mystery, He had even no Name except the mysterious Name which only the High Priest knew. But in the New Testament we have learned, and we know from experience that God has become Man, that the fullness of the Godhead has abided and is still abiding forever in the flesh; and therefore God has a human name: Jesus, and He has got a human face that can be represented in icons. An icon is therefore a proclamation of our certainty that God has become man; and He

proclaimed that the grace of God is not a created gift . become transparent or at least translucent to His light. In the first week of Lent we have seen all the promises of salvation given in the Old Testament fulfilled: . open to us like a door for us to enter through Christ. it is a certainty of the present. awe-inspiring. And a step more . because it is to us the sign that God‘s love has no measure. we will listen to the Saints who teache us how to receive the grace which God is offering. and see in it the sign of the Divine love. how to become worthy of Him. that we become incipiently and ever increasingly partakers of the Divine nature. allembracing as God is all-embracing. and which He wants to share with us. a new certainty of our possible salvation.has become man to achieve ultimate. we can say with an ever-growing sense of gratitude and of joy. And when the choir sings this time more loudly the canon of the Resurrection. ‗My soul shall live. no limits. the Door as He calls Himself. In a week‘s time we will sing the Cross . and has become now a sign of victory and salvation. is as deep as God is deep. a gratitude that will make us into new people . and with gratitude I will give glory to the Lord'.and we will see the victory of God in Saint Mary of Egypt and come to the threshold of Holy Weak. a time when God's victory is been revealed to us. tragic and glorious solidarity with us. He has become man that we may become gods.the Cross which was a terror for the criminals.and also with joy! And joy full of tears in response to the love of God. Amen! Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Sunday of the Cross-18 March 1990 In the Name of the Father.it is God Himself. who against heresy and doubt proclaimed. and indeed. to be one of us that we may be one of the children of God. as tragically victorious as God is both tragic and victorious. this is a certainty which we have because this has happened to thousands and thousands of those men and women whom we venerate as the Saints of God: they have become partakers of the Divine nature. and the Holy Ghost. when we were already preparing to meet this miracle. But let us remember that we are now in the time of newness. and a joy which is a responsible answer to the Divine love. if we only receive Him. open ourselves to Him. And today one step more brings us into the joy. into eternity. we could last week already rejoice. softly. And today we remember the name of Saint Gregory Palamas. let us realise that step by step God leads us into a victory which He has won. joyful light which we sing in vespers. of a serene and exulting joy the words of a Psalm. This is not simply a promise. communicating Himself to us so that we are pervaded by His presence. one of the great Saints of Orthodoxy. and shining the quiet. that we are called to be enfolded by it. this wonder of the Incarnation. to respond to it by gratitude. from within the experience of the ascetics and of all believers. the glory of Easter. they are to us a revelation and certainty of what we are called to be and become. and this is why. a week before. the Son. look at it. And so. Let us then make ourselves ready to meet this event. that we gradually. the vision of the Cross. in an almost inaudible way. And then we will move on. As we progress deeper and deeper into the weeks of Lent. as the Scripture tells us. the Church was singing the canon of Easter: Christ is risen from the dead! Because it is not a promise for the future.

when we contemplate the Cross. . forgive . 'Father. And so again. And today.everyone is called to grant freedom to those who have made him suffer. but indeed. and He has power to forgive because He is the victim of all the evil. 'But how that? How can we be forgiven. 'Lord forgive him. Peter said to Him. 'What is not possible to men is possible for God!‘. when He prays. the fullness of God abided in a human person. 'Father. into the Church. He prays for each of us not only in His own name. and undid death. more and more. And then. 'Who then can be saved?' . There is a passage of the Gospel in which we are told that when Christ spoke of salvation and of its conditions. . Once more we are confronted with another step of our freedom and of newness. the worst: because in compassion. in solidarity He identifies with every sufferer: the death. And Christ does not only forgive His own murderers. ‗I do!‘. 'Whatever you have done to one of My smaller brethren and sisters. Because indeed. we can see why Christ says.they don't know what they are doing': He goes beyond this. deeper into joy. and again we can say that Lent is a spring of a new life. everyone who has suffered in soul. and into every human soul ready to receive Him the presence. deeper into certainty when we consider. the agony of each of those who suffer is His. and rejoicing. not only in repentance. But do you realise what responsibility it puts on each of us with regard to all and everyone? But also the depth. But it is not only Christ who forgives. all the destructiveness of human history. we had the glorious proclamation of all the Saints of Christendom that not only did God come and dwell in our midst. in the second week of Lent. forgive! They do not know what they are doing. 'Yes. a new time. forgive her‘. no one but the victim can forgive those who have brought evil.God became man. the transforming gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us gradually commune ever deeper to the Living God until one day we become partakers of the Divine nature.not only in good. Let us enter ever deeper into this mystery. the pain. salvation has come. when He says. Only the victim can say. you have done it to Me‘ . because He had said. misery. into this wonder of salvation. the glorious depth of hope which opens up to us when we look at the Cross and see that in solidarity with all mankind Christ taking upon Himself all the suffering of the world. what they have been doing‘. Amen! Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh SAINT JOHN OF THE LADDER 9 April 1989 In the Name of the Father. in body. suffering. and rejoice in the Lord.and Christ answered. but in being taken by Christ Himself as the shepherd took the lost sheep. but He has poured out upon us. 'Forgive so that you may be forgiven' because both the victim and the culprit are tied in one knot of solidarity and reciprocal responsibility. and all hopes are possible. And He Himself came. all the cruelty. step after step. . a time of renewal. And so. brought it to the place of death. as the Lord took up His Cross. and only then can the Lord say. how can evil be undone?' . the Son and the Holy Ghost. if we ask ourselves. this is one more step towards the moment when we will be faced with Christ's resurrection that engulfs us also because the risen Christ is risen and is offering all and each of us the fullness of eternal life.one step brings us deeper into gratitude.we forgive!‘ This is one more step towards freedom. accepting to die an impossible death has said in the name of all the sufferers. undid evil by forgiveness and giving His life. but in the name of all those upon whom evil has visited because of human sin. let us also express our gratitude by newness of life. corruption and death into their lives. And so. in spirit.

from insensitive to become perceptive. Don't try to say much when you speak to God. of the Divine nature.how can we respond to Him? Here is a short word about prayer : ―Don't use in prayer falsely wise words. One word spoken by the publican brought Divine mercy upon him. because it is often the simple and uncomplicated whispering of children that rejoices our heavenly Father. and reconciliation is a joy: it is God's joy. simple human being into a light to the world. It is a time of reconciliation. because repentance is our peace with God. Repentance is cleansing of our conscience. Let us remember his words because he was a man who knew what it means to turn to God. Let us remember what Saint John of the Ladder says. because otherwise your mind in search of words will be lost in them. how we can respond to God Who receives us as the father received the prodigal son. how we can come to this. rejected. that is peace. to be God‘s joy and to rejoice in Him. to God Himself. Let us learn from him. that is our return to God is renewal of our baptism.and yet. It is a time when we can acquire humility. in thy prayer. and let us confidently. everything become new again. in Him we will be alive. a God Who has waited for us. even if you forget the short comments (which I introduced) to make his text more readily understandable. by making us partakers of His Holy Spirit. with an exulting and yet serene joy follow the advice. Lent is a time of renewal when like spring. is one who deserves condemnation . and I want to read to you a few phrases of his which are relevant to the particular time of the year in which we live: ―Repentance. One word spoken to God collects the mind in His presence. And if a word. reaches you deeply. He is offered us in this time. from cold and hard to become warm and open to others. let us rejoice in what God can do by His power in a human being. our promise to change our life. peace with all the created world.dwell in it. And this is achieved through a worthy life. when we are ascending towards the days of the Passion. Who. listen to God begging us to find a way of life and telling us that with Him. peace with God. by making us partakers. Today is the day of Saint John of the Ladder. humans. because at such moments our Angel guardian prays with us because we are true to ourselves and to God‖. because He is the Truth but also the Way and also Life eternal. longingly. it's a new beginning.‖ And if we ask ourselves how we can achieve it. and indeed. peace with ourselves. And one who repents. to stay with God. and it is our joy. Amen. The use of the multiplicity of words when we pray disperses our mind and fill it with imaginations. alien to the sins we committed in the past. it is our effort to renew our covenant with God. a time when our heart of stone must be made by the power of God into a heart of flesh. let us follow his example. if you perceive it profoundly . when our life that had gone into a twilight becomes alive with all the intensity which God can communicate to us. through the Holy Sacraments and the direct gift of God. goes away from the tribunal without shame.Lent is a time of repentance. with faith. . one word filled with faith saved the thief on the cross. dwell in it. never turned away from us . Repentance implies carrying off all sadness and pain. Repentance is born of hope and rejection of despair. he is offered us as an example of what grace Divine can do to transform an ordinary.

have heard His knocking. her memories . we are never free . and what we imagined to be ‗free‘ from Him: we are never free. and the door was shut in His face: exactly in the same way in which every door was shut in the face of the Mother of God and Joseph on the night of the Nativity. a power prevented her from crossing the threshold. between our silence and Him. and how often have we felt that between our prayer and Him. she wanted to go and venerate an icon of the Mother of God in a church. You remember the word of the Book of Revelation: I stand at Thy door and I knock. But how often also has God knocked at the door of our heart. But when she came to the gate of this church. and yet for each of us. a moment when suddenly we came to life. in all the ways in which God tries to reach us . in the words of the Gospel. simply. We keep today the memory of Saint Mary of Egypt in the gradual progression from glory to glory which Lent is. the presence of all that is holy on earth and in heaven. the kind of person she became. and then we shut the door again.. the proof of it is that we are here.ultimate separation. someone whose sin was known to everyone and not to God alone. have let perhaps the door ajar. we chose to be without Him. And she was so profoundly shaken by this experience that she left all that had been her life. our soul was laid waste. in the weak promptings of our soul. an emptiness that if it continued. but also everything that could lead her away from God. How often has God. retired into the desert. the presence of the Mother of God. if it became our definitive condition would mean more than death . We chose our aloneness. We may not be aware of it with the intensity which should be ours. The Publican had been able to stand there because his heart was broken. Either didn't we simply care to open it because we were busy with things that mattered to us at that moment more than His interrupting. disturbing presence. because not only could we not reach Him. And she stood there. the Son and the Holy Ghost. which mattered to us.how often has He knocked at this door. and how often did we refuse to open the door because the coming of the Lord to us would have meant the end of things which were precious to us. And yet. Mary of Egypt had no broken heart. in a whispering of the Holy Spirit. perhaps she was the only one who was least of all aware of it because sin was her life... had a moment of elation. fought to conquer her flesh. in the events of our life. all we could perceive was the Divine absence. praying into an empty sky. the presence of God. to be in His presence in silence? How often has our longing been to God. Saint Mary of Egypt was a sinner.. aware that what she was. and with a life which the service books define as ‗extreme‘. between our longing and Him there was a barrier which we could not pass. and the entrance of the church was forbidden to her. and how often have we made sure that this door does not open. have listened to what He was saying. the sacrificial love of the Holy Trinity. her soul. we were turning towards icons that were silent. was incompatible with the holiness of the Presence. and an absence so frightening. What lesson can we receive from her life? How often is it that we have knocked at the door of God in the way in which Mary tried to come into His presence? How often have we tried to pray. and which must lead us step by step to facing the supreme glory of the Divine Love crucified.everything that was sin. but we perceived that unless we reached Him. And the Lord stood knocking. one day.Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh SAINT MARY OF EGYPT 16 April 1989 In the Name of the Father. there was within us nothing but emptiness. and millions of other people at some moment have suddenly perceived the presence of God. The supreme beauty of womanhood in the Mother of God reached her heart. touched it. And we know how glorious her life was. We were crying.

John and James . "My God. as frail as we are. Isn't she for us an example. not because He hunts us down.. the glory of life. The loneliness begins with a misunderstanding. in the last steps of the way of the Cross. a brother. that God and each of us should become one. receive inspiration from what we meet face to face in the Gospel. determinably.. but can that be achieved by our own strength? No. Peter. and life. having fulfilled his vocation. of a leader who will free his people from oppression. a living member. and fullness. tired. all things are possible unto me in the power of Christ Who sustains me. they will be in constant doubt as to the meaning of His words. that each of us should become partaker of the Divine nature. The loneliness will develop further into the dreadful loneliness of not being understood even by His disciples. depressed. At the Last Supper when the Saviour talks to them for the last time. because He is the fullness of life. and in the victory of the Resurrection of God.because all paganism or idol-worship is a denial of the living God. the Son and the Holy Ghost. Paul. all our longing. everything was vain. And let us move one step more forward towards the vision of the love of God made manifest in Holy Week. Let us once more receive inspiration from what we hear. And then . without men. a son and a daughter of the Living God! This is our vocation. in prayer. a temple of the Holy Spirit. deployed itself gloriously. in the final victory of crucified Love. The culmination of this loneliness will be Christ's cry on the cross. in Holy Communion. How much hope. yes: it is determination. dying for its sake and for God's glory. Yes. and left in vain. this applied to her. she was a prospective saint… Each of us is called to commune with God in such a way. My God. hopeless. And at the end of his life. 30 March In the Name of the Father. all our heart.. confronted with a shut door within herself felt that unless the door opened. We are never free because He is ultimately in the end the only supreme longing of our whole being. the Lord said to him. why hast Thou forsaken me?" Abandoned by men. a sister. an image of what could be the life of each of us? But we may say.. with only His love for God and His love for mankind. in the silence in the presence of God. who knew what he was saying. from what they consider godlessness . the glory. I have said so often that when Saint Paul asked God for strength to fulfil his mission. the exultation of life for which we long and which we try to glean right. a call. My grace suffitheth unto thee.whom He chose to go with Him. And later when He goes into the Garden of Gethsemane before the fearful death that is facing Him.. said. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh THE LORD’S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM 1980. My power deploys itself in weakness. the life unfolded itself. how much inspiration can we find in each of the Saints of God. the victory. from slavery. and exultation. because God does not call us to more than can be achieved by Him with us and in us.and then all things become possible. fall asleep. Mary of Egypt confronted with the Divine absence. it cannot! But it can be achieved by God in us if we only turn to Him with all our mind. and it is longing. the people expect that the Lord's entry into Jerusalem will be the triumphant procession of a political leader.. . a limb of Christ. Today Christ enters the path not only of His sufferings but of that dreadful loneliness which enshrouds Him during all the days of Passion week. rejected by the people of Israel He encounters the extreme of forsakenness and dies without God. with God‘s refusal to allow her into His presence. and in whom the power. Amen. His closest disciples. alone. And she turned away from everything that stood between her and God. desperate longing. a passionate.not because He enslaves us. All things are possible.

as we listen to the prayers of the Church. who were ready to become His disciples as long as He brought victory. because their confusion was very great . participating in His tragic ascent to the Cross. or despair. peace. having convinced them of His physical resurrection. in Thy Kingdom! Amen. we too are part of that terrifying crowd that surrounded Christ. Christ uttered words which may in the present age sound menacing and frightening to many. crucify Him.neither death nor persecution . Only a few hours after Christ's death on the . "As the Father sent Me. It would seem that life itself had been slain and light had faded." And Christ spent all those days in loneliness. as one image after another of these days of the Passion passes before our eyes. for they could no longer live. to sleep. Remember me. I am alive. And then later when He appeared to the Apostles His first words were "Peace be unto you!". those who were bound to Him by the kind of love which fears nothing and is ready to share in everything. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh EASTER MESSAGE 9 April 1972 (Romans VIII:34-39) Christ is risen! When Christ first rose from the tomb and appeared to His disciples and the myrrh-bearing women. so I send you". Lord. Having tasted eternal life they were now condemned to expect cruel persecution and death at the hands of Christ's enemies. "Crucify Him. the victory of God". And during this time Christ is on the Cross. proclaimed Christ. She who had accepted the Annunciation. like the disciples in their day. the other disciples fled. During the coming days we shall be not just remembering.will ever separate us or deprive you of eternal life. turned their backs on Him and a few days later shouted. Let us think about this. who witnessed the raising of Lazarus.and then what will happen? The Cross will remain standing. who saw Christ's miracles and heard His teaching. for the victory of good over evil. to prepare for the fatigues of the next day.and they found the Saviour of their souls. the Crucifixion and death . knowing what was in store for Him. He greeted them with the word "Rejoice!". in love. but we shall go away for a rest. admired every word. All that remained for the disciples who had believed in Christ. and if we are incapable of doing anything. Judas betrayed Him. a disappointed hope. the appeal of the thief. and at the final hour turn to Christ with the cry. "Peace be unto you". And then. the Good Tidings. as we shall go away from church. let us at least realise who we are and where we stand. "I have arisen. Once more let us ask ourselves who we are and where we stand. "Where do I stand. John. broke away from Him. one hour with Him. The Crucifix will be standing here on Thursday and we shall be reading the Gospel about the Cross. was to go on existing. Do we stand with hope. but be present at Christ's Passion. It seemed as though all hope had perished for the victory of God over human wickedness. How awful it is that. shuffling. we are not able to spend one night. Christ is in the tomb. go home to have supper. As we hear the Gospel readings. abandoned by every one except the Mother of God. who am I in this crowd? A Pharisee? A Scribe? A traitor.the Lord had died. Peter denied Him thrice. what our position in this crowd is. a coward? Who? Or do I stand among the Apostles?" But they too were overcome by fear. listening. James and Peter went to sleep just when Christ most needed human love and support. let each one of us ask himself the question. in life. having restored their peace and an unshakable certainty of faith.The beginning of Christ's Passion is today's triumphal procession. and that explains why people who could receive Him like that. a leader . and then going away. The people expected a king. no one remained except John and the Mother of God. Nothing embitters a person so much as a lost. and henceforth nothing . I am with you. who stood silently by. but who also accepted in silence Simeon's prophecy that a sword would pierce her heart. or what? And if we stand with indifference. as She had done throughout her life. We shall be part of the crowd surrounding Christ and the disciples and the Mother of God.

And it was only faith. for a friend. let us remember his greatness. So let us also stand up for this faith. . that they should be able to carry our victorious faith through the furnace of horror. these words sounded menacing. have become the people to whom God has committed the care of other people. But faith. May the Lord give us invincible courage. he saw them rejoicing in what they had seen. Twelve men confronted the Roman empire. even before they can understand it. that the Church had become an invincible force that transformed these words into words of hope and triumphant God-speed. that we should truly become godly. in the faith in Christ. if necessary. will stand before the judgment of God and will have to answer whether we were able to love the whole world . but to die with Him as one dies with a friend and.cross. So. God crucified and risen. the conquering certainty that Christ had risen. in the person of Jesus Christ. his faithfulness. Christ is risen! Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh ST THOMAS SUNDAY April 30. that they had actually seen the risen Christ? Why did he not accept their message? Why did he doubt? Why did he say that he must have proofs. and persecution and suffering and a cross (II Cor. We must remember that when the Apostles and the Lord heard of the illness of Lazarus." This preaching changed the attitude of man to man. IV :9-13] Death was indeed granted them. that God had conquered. faith in Christ who brought unquenchable love into the world. Let us proclaim it fearlessly. To which the others said: But the Jews wanted to kill you there. faith in Christ crucified and risen. let us teach it to our children. the Apostles said to the one who had not seen Christ risen. twelve men without legal rights were out to preach the simplest message. But what happened then when after the Resurrection of Christ. rejoicing that Christ was alive. Twelve defenceless men. crucified. triumphant faith. condemned to death. in God Incarnate. all-conquering love with which God loves us. nothing could stop them. and that a new life might begin for others through their death. every person became precious in the eyes of another. in order that others might believe and come to life. John the Divine who did not die a martyr's death. "Our faith which has conquered the world is the victory. The destiny of the world was widened and deepened. rejoicing that Christ was not dead. let us bring them to the sacraments of the Church which. All of us. triumphant love lives and reigns. the good and the bad . led out beyond the city walls and died on the cross. the betrayal by Judas when Christ had been taken by His enemies.with the sacrificial. his wholeness. that they should hope for all things because God puts His hope in us. that divine love had entered the world and that they were willing to give their lives for the sake of this love. Why should we return? Only Thomas the Apostle answered: Let us go with Him and die with Him. hatred and persecution . [I Cor. there is not a single apostle except St. He was prepared not only to be His disciple in words. that our earth should indeed become heaven where love. VI: 3-14). And the disciples went out to preach.believers and unbelievers. it burst the bounds of earth and united earth to heaven. not only to follow Him as one follows a teacher. that they should believe in themselves because God believes in us. Death was granted them. trials.that faith which has already conquered the world. in the words of a western preacher. not long after the fearful night in Gethsemane. Too often we remember him only as a doubter. unite them with God and plant eternal life in them.1995 To-day we are keeping the day of St Thomas the Apostle. indeed he is the one who questioned the message which the other Apostles brought to him when they said: Christ is risen! We have seen Him alive! But he is not one who doubted throughout his life or who remained unfaithful to the fullness of the divine revelation of Christ. faith in Christ. Christ said to them: Let us return to Jerusalem. sooner or later. And now we Christians. material proofs? Because when he looked at them. joyful love in order that the kingdom for which God became man should be established. has triumphed.

to be what we should be. but the Resurrection had not become part of their own experience. yet who. we have done to Him. they came to anoint His Body which Joseph of Arimathea had sought from Pilate. in the street. a few days ago. They had not come out of death into eternal life. Should we not look at one another not only with compassion. people who in the course of the Gospel are hardly mentioned. rejection. We believe in it with all our being. because Christ has said that what we have done to any one of us. to the most insignificant. in the security of countries where no persecution. At the moment of the Crucifixion all the Apostles had fled save one. We should be so different from people who have no experience of the living Christ.rejoicing that victory had been won. anywhere. when Christ was seemingly defeated. to the smallest. when he looked at them he saw no difference in them. in our place of work. examine ourselves and be ready to answer before our own conscience and do what is necessary to change our lives in such away that people meeting us may look at us and say: Such people we have never seen. when people meet us in our homes. Let us ask ourselves how we behave when someone is rejected.. What is it? And we could answer: It is the life of Christ abroad in us. Why is it that people who meet us never notice that we are limbs of the risen Christ. 1991 In the Name of the Father. I cannot believe you. the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen. when death. only a small group of women stood at a short distance from the Cross. only full of joy instead of fear. ostracised. yet he is alive. There is no greater measure of faithfulness than that faithfulness which is made manifest in defeat. except with the saints. sincerely. the faithfulness of the heart and the courage that can be born only of love. no rejection is endured. who stood at the foot of the Cross with the Mother of God. It is easy to be Christ's disciples when we are on the crest of the wave. Let us think of ourselves not in regard to Christ alone but with regard to one another. each of us.S. no betrayal can lead us to martyrdom. This is the life of the Spirit in us. condemned by public opinion or by the opinion of those who mean something to us. So it is also with us. Is it not the same thing that anyone can say to us who meets us? We proclaimed the Resurrection of Christ. We remember today the Myrrh-bearing women. but with the . unless I probe the Resurrection. he is a testimony of life. when they see them. because we all are defeated. We are His limbs. And Thomas said: Unless I see. betrayal and hatred had conquered. and when He had died. whether at that moment our heart remains faithful. whether at that moment we find courage to say. and we are defeated at every moment. but are not. These were the same men. Let us consider this. glorious. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. ‗He was. or simply to becoming the victims of mockery and rejection. a living person is different from a statue. Let us ask ourselves where we are. John.a little or much. passionately. mocked. because in life and in death love and faithfulness had conquered. A human being can be much less moving in his outer presence. Let us. Lewis. who has shared His life with us. There is something about them that we have never seen in anyone. they know that their message is true. unafraid of being recognised as a disciple. proved to be people of faithfulness and courage. So let us examine ourselves. We are His temple. in the words of C. with whatever energy we have . truthfully. Let us reflect on this. What is it in our message that is not heard? Because we speak. We all strive. do they look at us and say: Who are these people? What has happened to them? The Apostles had seen Christ risen. and yet. A statue may be beautiful. Everyone else had abandoned Christ. risen. Yet. temples of the Holy Spirit? Why? Each of us has got to give his own reply to this question. and he remains my friend whether you accept or reject him‘. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH -BEARING WOMEN April 21. we are defeated in so many ways. who sent the Holy Spirit to us as. but it is stone. magnificent.

Others who were attached to them by love. And all of us. There was no friendliness. How tragic today's story of the life of Christ is.was the direct intervention of God. It is not only people who are physically paralysed who need help. frustrates all hopes and expectations which we have set on him or her. And when they tried to receive comfort and support. not one person. of brutality… But all this could not have taken them if there had been someone who have stood by them and not abandoned them. because life has been an object of terror for them since they were born: insensitive parents. falls away from grace. incapable of being what they longed for.not to speak of having the courage of making a move towards wholeness. Amen. incapable of serving others the way their heart speaks. There are so many people who are paralysed in themselves. But no. of violence. that wholeness of which the Gospel speaks in this passage and in so many other places? Let us reflect on this. But no one cast a glance at this man. Paralysed in themselves are those who are terrified of life. at that time let us be faithful and prove that our love was not conditioned by the hope of victory but was a wholehearted gift. There wasn't. So we are surrounded. when they were still small. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC 21 May 2000 In the Name of the Father. because when we look right and left at the people who stand by us. all of us were responsible for each of them. At that time let us stand by. the Son and the Holy Ghost. gratuitous. He had lain at a short distance from healing. wonderful. what do we know about them? Do we know how broken they are? How much pain there is in their hearts? How much agony there has been in their lives? How many broken hopes. And no one .faithfulness of friends who are prepared to stand by a person who falls. If only one person had been there. lived in circumstances of fear. Whenever they thought they could do something they were told. all of us. Let us look at each other and ask ourselves. they did not receive it.no one in the course of all these years . How many are those who hoped. if only one heart had responded with compassion. and not sufficiently strong… But did they find someone to give them a supporting hand? Did they find anyone who felt so deeply for them and about them that they went out of their way to help? And how many those who are terrified of life. but he himself had no strength to merge into the waters of ablution. A man had been paralysed for years. by people who are in the situation of this paralytic man. heartless. There was nothing. falls away from his own ideal. for one another. We are surrounded by people who are in need. brokenness has come into them. We are responsible. by friendship. joyful. incapable of fulfilling all their aspirations.had had compassion on him. mutually. brutal surroundings. this man might have been whole years and years earlier. 'How much frailty is there in him or her? How much pain has accumulated in his or her heart? How much fear of life . There was no compassion. As no one. that there would be something for them in life. how much fear and rejection and contempt that has made them contemptuous of themselves and unable even to respect themselves . How many were unable to fulfil their lives because they were physically ill. all that was left to him . and need to meet someone who would help them. 'Don't try. who for years had longed for healing and was not in himself able to find strength to become whole.and I say all that was left to him with a sense of horror . incapable of doing anything they longed for because fear. The ones rushed to be the first in order to be healed. If we think of ourselves we will see that many of us are paralysed. had compassion on him. Don't you understand that you are incapable of this?' And they felt lower and lower. helped them to be healed.but .

the certainty that God can conquer if we only allow Him access to our souls. we cannot spread God's light around.to ask questions! Because the Samaritan woman asked a question of Christ. in the Celtic languages . the ears of Christ who hears the cry. and calls her in Greek . it is not in our words.to this light. Let us look at each other and have compassion. Christ has said that He is the Light of the world. to be . through seeing how we live that people can believe that the light is God's light. Having met the Lord Jesus Christ she has become a light shining in the world. love if we can. each of us. indeed . to fetch water .Svetlana. And all these names speak to us of one thing . Each of us may meet our God at any turn in our life. so that the word spoken by Christ. the hands of Christ who supports and heals or makes it possible for the person to be healed. But the light must not be pushed under a bushel. The Samaritan woman came to the well without any spiritual purpose. And then this parable will not have been spoken or this event will not have been related to us in vain. in Western languages . unless they are words of truth and of power like those of the Apostles. a light that enlightens those who meet her. if we are prepared to receive a message. and we are called to give shelter within our souls. on the meaning of our name and on the way in which we can become what we are called. the Son and the Holy Ghost The Holy Gospel has not given us the name of the Samaritan woman. or of Christ Himself indeed. she came. And let us reflect.indeed. when we are about our most homely tasks. that is. Because if the Kingdom of God is not established within us. The one is that by the grace of God we can achieve what seems humanly impossible. if God is not enthroned in our minds and hearts. to become a person in the image and likeness of God. CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Sermon on the Samaritan woman-8 May 1988 In the name of the Father.Photini. minds and hearts . a sign of hope. but we cannot always emulate the concrete ways in which a Saint lived. in Russian . But we will be answerable for each other. Every Saint is offered us as an example.has come in to my existence? Let us look at one another with understanding.a word of truth. the Saviour of the world. we cannot always repeat their way from earth to heaven.in this world of darkness and tragedy which is in the power of lies . as she came daily. the light that enlightens all men. active compassion. to listen. And today's Samaritan woman speaks of light. within our whole self . because there are so many ways in which we should be the eyes of Christ who sees the needs.life expressed by my neighbour. a fire that destroys everything unworthy of ourselves and of Him. Let us look at this parable of the paralytic with new eyes. But the Tradition of the Church remembers. "Let your light so shine before all men. the people whom I should be able to count for life . Amen. But we can learn from each of them two things.Claire. It is only through seeing our deeds. He can heal.Fiona. that seeing your good deeds they may give glory to your Father who is in heaven".of light. not thinking of this poor man two thousand years ago who was so lucky that Christ happened to be near him and in the end did what every neighbour should have done. And the second thing which the Saints can teach us is to understand the message which their names convey to us.the Christ. with attention.and she met Christ. may be fulfilled and accomplished in and through us. Having discovered that the Light had come into the . and later . Christ is there. yes. and what she heard transcended her question in such a way that she recognised in Him a prophet. if our hearts are turned in the right direction. insight.

I would like to attract your attention also to something different. Here this man saw God in the features of Him who was God and who had become the Son of Man. It is no longer because of what you say that we believe . we live in the time with God truly having become man in our midst. a vision of God. with all the tenderness. "You have seen Him and He is speaking to you". She brought her fellow-citizens to Christ. now and forever and world without end! Amen. but not of man as . she left behind all concerns and ran to share the joy. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh SUNDAY OF THE MAN BORN BLIND 14 May 1972 In the name of the Father. by depth and by eternity. And may the blessing of God be upon you. Christ. and at the same time. simultaneously. For us. to be cleansed by His purity. And this is what the Samaritan woman teaches all of us: be open at every moment of life. but what was this wonder of this man who had never seen anything in the world and who. God has come down to him. looking at him. and to serve Him in the way in which she served Him. On another occasion we read the story of a paralytic healed by Christ. the Son of Man. while we are busy with the simplest things. and the change that had occurred in her brought them to Christ. and over him . and more than this: He has made us to be living members of His body. She told them first why she believed. to receive the divine word. with all human love. touched by the life-giving hand of Christ. they saw for themselves and said to her. he should be able to see the love of God in our eyes and to perceive the active. words stand that we pass by very often. the wonder of what she had discovered with others. and when perhaps curiosity. imaginative. The blind man says to Christ.we have seen. being the salvation of all who were around her. the first event of a meeting is that we see a person. taught mercy and understanding by God become Man. to show concern. and all the depth of a human gaze. the temples of the Spirit. to guide us. the first event of our life. or the convincing power of her words. the Son and the Holy Ghost.world. the Son of Mary. Now we live in another time. "As this man found no one to show mercy on him. meeting with us. Now any man who is in need should at the same time find in each of us a man stirred to compassion. God Himself. singing the praises of God on that occasion says. what profound impression the face of the first man he remembers made. receive it with all our life. the place of the Presence. Since Christ has come into the world. that God was among us. that the word of divine truth was resounding now amidst men. so that people seeing what we have become may believe that the light has come into the world. He remembers himself as a child. and the Church. to bring us to Christ in the way in which she came. stooped down and met his need". the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.the inexpressibly beautiful face of his father who was a priest. an incarnate. "And who is the Son of God?" and Christ answers. And he says that this was a first vision for him in the icon which a human face can be when it is lit from inside by love and by understanding. Let us pray to the Samaritan woman to teach us. the first words are so natural. Because this man had not found another man to show mercy. to be illumined by the divine light. we have heard. of a sudden saw! And the first person he saw was his Lord and his God. At the end of today's reading. to show compassion. creative action of divine charity in our words and in our deeds. to receive it in the depths of our souls. concrete presence of His Incarnation. the time of man has come. I remember a Romanian writer telling us in his biography what definitive.

It means the one who consoles. who proceeds from the Father. whom I will send to you and who will teach you all things. and this is an earnest claim and a challenge which the Gospel presents us with. if we only love Him. but in this mysterious incarnate presence which each of us represents. the Christ who according to today‘s Gospel is resplendent with the glory. Amen. the one who gives strength. we are not separated desperately from Christ if we only long for Him. So the separation from Christ is a separation in space. And when their hearts were filled with sorrow at the thought that they will not see Him again. During the Last Supper our Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that separation was near. of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.those men to whom God has entrusted the care of His world . in human compassion. human love. Paul grieved about the necessity of living in the world and in the flesh. the one who brings joy. it is this Christ of whom Paul speaks when he says. But I will not. not only in the words we speak. ―leave you orphan. the presence of God in the flesh. Let us then reflect on it. which in ancient languages has a much wider meaning. this separation is not total. make a decision. a vision of God. the shining that belonged to Him before all ages. human joy. make a move and become an icon. wonderful contact of humanity as we know it on earth but it is the beginning of a new discovery of Christ. you should rejoice for Me that I am returning to My Father. Are we to one another and to those further afield that kind of humanity? New humanity. not only in the shining of love in our eyes. we are separated from Christ. new men with the newness of a renewed life. that He was to ascend to His God and to His Father as He would repeat again to the women who came to the grave. we are not separated irremediably. I will send you the Holy Spirit. Paul longed to die to be inseparably forever with Him because according to the promise the Holy Spirit has come on the day of Pentecost. if we become not only in word or in imagination but in all truth. alien to Him. it is the loss of that moving. the resplendence. Is not this a great call. we do not touch Him as Thomas did. the Christ not only risen but ascended.‖ And so do we here now while we are still in the light of the Ascension.‖ he added.people can both receive divine and human mercy and see human compassion. And it is this Christ whom we meet in prayer. the day of the Lord. because as long as we are in the flesh. This is what we are called to be. who have become one with Him . in our heart and in our being disciples of Christ. a blessing. we do not hear and see Him as . St. the splendour of Divinity. the life of God. not only in the incarnate Son of God. He said. the Holy Spirit whom we call the Comforter by word. He said. if as St. ―We no longer know Christ according to the flesh‖. separated from Him. to whom we can get united only by a faithfulness in life. but a wonderful time when in man. We become His temples and He speaks to us either in unutterable groaning or with that wonderful clarity that allows us to call ‗Father‘ the God of Heaven because in Christ and by the power of the Spirit we have become the children of the Living God. the Holy Spirit dwells in us. in action and in thought. so that the time of man should have become the day of the Son of Man. in human love. but also in every action and deed. CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Sermon on Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost-22 May 1988 In the name of the Father. the shining. new creatures. ―Your hearts are full with sorrow and yet. who have believed in Him. is not that something which should make us capable of great things? The time of God and the time of man is one. in those who have discovered Christ.severed from God. whom we discover through and in the Holy Sacraments. ―To me life is Christ and death would be a gain.‖ And yet. His presence indeed can console us from our separation from Christ because the Holy Spirit if we only live according to the Gospel.

Come! Come and abide in us! Cleanse us! Be not only our Comforter but our strength also.Apostles and the women. the joy of knowing how close we are despite what seems to b an infinite distance between God and us. the dignity of this! Indeed also. determination. our Saviour. of Christ ou Saviour and of our greatness and dignity before God.and these are the words of St. because we are Christ's own people.and these are His own words . His presence is a decisive fact. the Son and the Holy Ghost. we must be faithful to the word of His preaching. not only remember it as an event of the past but bringing it back by presenting ourselves to the descent of the Holy Spirit as the Apostles offered themselves to Him in the Upper Room nearly 2. a discovery that makes humanity resplendent with eternity. by rejecting at least in intention and determination all that is unworthy of our calling. strength to live despite the separation. Who consoles us who are like orphans. which leads us to a new knowledge. speaks to God from the depths of our being. which is translated ‗The Comforter‘ in English. But to do this we must be disciples of Christ. Let us rejoice in the Ascension but also let us remember that in a week‘s time we will stand here remembering the day of Pentecost. who is everywhere when a lonely soul cries for Him. What do we know about Him? We heard wonderful words o prayer about Him yesterday on Trinity Sunday. Today we are keeping the Feast of the Holy Spirit. empty to be filled with the Spirit. and that nothing more is needed? How much more is needed! He is also the One Who. when a life is being dedicated to Him. and all crowds of people did. a vanguard of the Kingdom. which is a victory. the One Who consoles us for our separation from Christ. we must be His own. but let us think of Him. who long to be with Christ our God. the Spirit is already the beginning of eternal life. His brothers and sisters in humanity . If we think of our world which is to such a great extent alien to God. in other translations ‗The Advocate‘. His Divinity is no longer veiled for us by His human presence. as the Comforter. strength to stand fast and to be the doers of the Will. the wonder of this. a separation. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh DAY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 1989. He breaks resistances. the One Who can give us vigour of soul.we are separated from Him. already now. But for Him to be our Comforter. He beats against the rocks like the sea. we must follow the example which He gave us. Amen. or do we live in the delusion that we are in God and God in us. power to act. to be our consolation. who is everywhere where two or three are gathered together.that we are the children of the Father. Paul . Lastly.. gives us strength. of the name He is given in the Gospel. we must truly be in the world in which we live an incarnate presence of Christ and the temple of Spirit. we must first be aware of the fact that we are separated and this is the first question we must ask ourselves: are we aware of it.. . only if we turn to Him and say. He is th joy of eternity knocking at our door. He is revealed to us as God resplendent not only in His Godhead but also in His humanity. the fulfillers of the Commandments of God. The joy of this. And so we are confronted with this mystery of a separation. But this. He is the One Who is the Comforter indeed. to a new discovery of Christ. showing us that all things are possible in the power of Chri Who sustains us. again. so that we truly may be also in an ever-increasing way become the temples of His presence. the One Who. the One Who. He is the One Who gives us. 19 JUNE In the Name of the Father. in unutterable groanings. reminding us of God our Father. Let us devote the coming week to preparing ourselves by searching our lives. the responsibility of this.000 years ago. forcing Himself into our lives. and who know that as long as we are in the flesh . but we know the Christ of the Spirit. And so it happens also all the time when people meet on a human level and then discover one another in the Holy Spirit. the risen and ascended Christ. Let us prepare ourselves to come open.

continuous presence. Never pray that way! If one sinner have existed. fallen away from God.. just like a small candle. Let us make a new start.the power will be of God. who knew that. to respond by gratitude and by determination. people who realised that if someone can die for them. in their real. in their prayer. because if only one person on earth had strayed. and that the only response we can giv is to give our lives for one another in His name . because each of us has the privilege to be called by one name. Christ would have come to save at the cost of His life. it may be a bright light as one of the great Saints . or touches us like the still. they understood with all their mind. And may the Spirit of God Who came in tongues of fire upon the Apostles. and He appeared to him. from all those things which surrounded Christ with hatred and lack of understanding. of women. My strength deploys itself in weakness. To take up our cross means exactly this: to turn away from all those things which are Christ's death and crucifixion. all their self to see what happened. our Christian name. The Mother of God and the Saints whose memory we keep today.. And Paul. more than those who lived in His time because they could be mistaken in Him in those days. a times . as He had said. And this response is given b them not only in their own name but in the name of all creation and in our names also. that we may understand. the name of one of those Saints. and died. added. and see emerging from the story the stature. those who are known to us because God has revealed them.. a light it may be a small light.. And then. on this day make a new resolve: to listen in the way in which they listened. taught. and they accepted His message with all their determination. their only response of gratitude is to become such that he should not have died in vain.. Amen! Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh ALL SAINTS OF RUSSIA SUNDAY-2nd of July 1989 . all the Saints are the response of the earth to the love of God. This is His own testimony to a Saint of the early centuries who had been praying that the sinners should be confounded. and lived. so that the Saints whose names we wear should rejoice in us. the pow for us also to grow into the stature which God has willed. either by their contemporaries. the Son and the Holy Ghost. How wonderful it is that we belong to this vast family of men. My grace sufficeth. to carry us from earth to heaven. And the Saints whose names are ours stand before God and pray that their name should not be made unworthy in the eyes of the Lord. to hear what He said. that we may be saved should rejoice. The Saints are people who responded to love by love. so that the Mother of God Who gave Her Son unto death that we may respond. dreamt for us. We are all free to do this.our gratitude and our good will .centuries later. with all their hear all their mind. The Saints of God embrace the whole of Creation in their love. and said. in His quiet humility. when we can read the Gospels. in their intercession. after two thousand years. come to us also . of children who have understood what the Lord meant when He came. taught and died for us! They responded with their own heart.how can't we respond? Let us therefore. all their will.. and because they have been understood and recognised. Let us be His glory.the strength.Let us therefore responsibly and gratefully keep this Feast. All things are possible unto us in the power of Christ Who sustains us. if we offer this little to God . in another passage.but let us be a light that lights the world and makes it less dark! Let us be joy so that others may learn to rejoice in the Lord. when we have got millions of witnesses that tell us that He truly gave His life for us. in His love for us. There is no doubt: we can. if we only will allow God to save. the Person of Christ. to overcome in themselves all that have been the cause of the crucifixion. and that Christ should see that it is not in vain that He lived. Amen. but in our days. or years. small voice which the Prophet heard in the wilderness in which God was.perhaps like a fire that sets us aglow and makes us like a Burning Bush. in His surrender to us. . Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh ALL SAINTS SUNDAY-25 June 1989 In the Name of the Father. I would have died for him.

whithersoever He went. this throng of people with shining eyes. faithful the Gospel to the point of laying down their lives for their neighbour! How many of them have died for their neighbours . There is no end to this procession. and patriarch Tikhon made him Bishop of the city. we see the heroes of the spirit. because of the name of Christ! They walk. but also as little children of the Kingdom Are we not going to take up our cross and follow Christ? Christ has commanded us to follow Him. those pure victims of God. one cross after the other. the old and the young. of children have taken upon themselves their own crosses. . the sight of all these martyrs. who rest in His heart . ordinary. but he was accepted. women. as He was seen by His tormentors. with incredible joy in their hearts pass us by? Shall we not jo them. to give his lectures at the University in his priestl clothes. And the respe he was surrounded by was such that he did not die a martyr. This makes the death of Christ a tragedy beyond our imagining. they walk now for two thousand years those who believe in Christ. We are keeping today the feast of all the Saints of Russia. And on the way we see crosses. we see monks and nuns. the Immortal. he was arrested. crowd after crowd. remain as frightening for us.men. we know Him now in the glory of the Resurrection. it is crosses and crosses again. the most appalling one.he said. He accepted the impossible death to share with us all the tragedy of our human condition. And he came. and also for those who were the instruments of their martyrdom and of their death.. or seventy years of his life. simple. a country whose history was remarkably short. they walk throughout the centuries. We see th bodies of the martyrs. And in the last seventy year how many unknown martyrs have been the resplendence and the glory of Russia! How many have lived. his neighbour. rejected. they walk. after his ordination. They walk. humble people of God. .or because of them! And how many indeed are now interceding for their martyred country. with hope unquenched. from the beginning to the end. the heaviest. deported to Tashkent. and which has been filled. but which leads from this earth on the very Throne of God. but innumerable are those whose names are known only to God. He is together with each of thos who walk! Is this a nightmare? How can blood and flesh endure this tragedy. he said that he had thought that he could best serve mankind. they walk on. treading the long way which is shown by Our Lord.I give it freely Myself.. by tragedy. into the Kingdom of God. this eternally moving crowd that is marked as a crowd of victims. the Son and the Holy Ghost. Before the Revolution he had been one of the best known surgeons of Russia whose name was known even abroad. innumerable crosses on which are crucified the disciple of Christ . lesser crosses perhaps. .. he decided to become a pries and on being asked. of the body th could not die from a soul that remained alive. by bloodshed and by martyrdom.nay. new and old? Because Christ is risen! Because we do not see in the Lord Who walks ahead of us a defeated Prophet o Galilee. The number of the Saints whom we knew are many. knowing that Christ h foretold us that they will have sorrow on this earth. b how often these crosses which are lesser than Christ's. alive forever.He gave H life. but after Him. who have willingly taken upon themselve the Cross of Christ.crosses. The Lord Himself has thus taken upon His shoulders the first cross.. obediently walked in the footsteps of Christ. children who have lived according to His Gospel and o whom many have died. to see this long procession. I want to read to you now a part of a sermon which he preached on occasion of Good Friday many. and however far we look. by being a surgeon when times were peaceful but now something else was needed: a testimony and a readiness to live and to die. with the heavy cross. a way tragic. why. Innumerable crowds of peop have lovingly. children and adults… But where are we? Are we going to stand and look.. No one could kill Him. He has invited us to the banquet of His Kingdom. and He is at the head of this procession ... following Him.. whose books could be foun in the libraries of the medical schools of all of Europe. of women. as the Scripture say. followin Him. "The death of Christ. no one could quench this Light which is the shining of the splendour of God . No one takes My life from Me . barely thousand years. with unfaltering love. but man many more people do we see. far beyond any suffering which we can humanely picture or experience. Christ's death is an act of supreme love. His persecutors. and he was a witness throughou sixty years. we see priests and pastors. many years ago.. hated because of truth. Many years ago now has died in Russia Bishop Luka of Simferopol and of Crimea. each one o them.In the name of the Father. but that the Kingdom of God is theirs..is a tearing apart of an immortal body from an immortal soul. thousands a thousands of men. When the Revolution came. He was true when He said. They walk carrying their crosses.

when her soul was endowed with a body. being the waters of a river that runs through a great city. She finds herself standing on the banks of the Thames. in complete repose of all the powers of our human being. but also immediately introduce into us sensations and impressions which change us at times very deeply. these women. it is their prayers that uphold now the martyred country. and open up new ways. And it is their blood that has been the renewal of Russia. this soul is free from the body and she sees these waters of the Thames freely. Our sight. she sees that these waters are exactly what they should be. but at the core of its tragedy. deeper that this superficial opacity she discovers a layer of purer water. this soul. we create or imagine. but we are also involved in it. and of a sudden she sees these waters of the Thames as she had never seen them in the past. In the name of the Father. we are only called. begins to see in them new and new depth. dirty waters because her imagination immediately connected them with touch and direct impressions of the body. We meet the world. greasy. victory. the dead woman could see across the superficial darkness. Charles Williams presents us with a young woman who had died in an accident and whose soul is gradually finding her way in the new world in which she has entered. as they are. and beyond and deeper again — a layer of transparency. a greater translucence. But now. the water of which Christ speaks to the Samaritan woman. we manage to see through layers of light somewhere a darkness which at times. with all things around us. in the peace in which we live. be as faithful as they were in the tragedy. to be faithful to our calling to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And shall we not follow them? We are not called to that martyrdom. of which the Lord speaks today in His Gospel.we know that every word of His is true! We know that the Kingdom of God is ours if we simply follow Him!‖ These are the words of one who had a right to speak these words because he lived not only in the twilight of history. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh THE LIGHT OF THE BODY IS THE EYE Matthew 6. And because she has no longer the usual revulsion of the body and of the imagination. collecting all the dirt of it and carrying it away. — she sees a stream of incredibly shining water. new possibilities. each in our place. and this victory indeed was won by all these man. One of the modern English writers gives us two images which I believe will allow us to understand something of this passage of the Gospel. at the core of its horror. through the opacity of these waters. of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Because we are continuously entangled in our own self-centred reactions. because our . the primordial water created by God. and through all our senses we are not only aware of the world. unknown to the world. these children. in the terror that was theirs? Amen. that our eye be single. in the darkness. as a fact. is the only way in which we can take cognisance of the world with serenity. we take cognisance of the world through our senses. that is should allow only light to enter into our awareness through it. Shall we not. But he knew that the Cross that had once been the object of horror and the sign of defeat had become. but also on condition. all our senses put us into contact with the world of objects. she looks at the waters. in a novel ‗All Hallows Eve‘. (then) she had a revulsion against these dark. known to God alone. 22-33. and at the core of these waters that run across the great city — and this city is also called one day to become t h e city of God. through the death and resurrection of Christ. the water of eternal life. as the Lord puts it. that it should be light. because she was free from personal reaction and revulsion. the (increasing?) layers of light.

with other people and other things that were dear that she begins to see. . although he himself was a pagan. or there was a shining beauty. but it was irrelevant to us. to the way in which we look and see. passes unnoticed. The Gospel story of the centurion tells us about a men whose faith exceeded that of the Jewish people. that people are walking. buses are running. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Centurion (Matt. we see also with a heart that can see God only when it is pure and not only God in His mysterious being. and yet. we look without love and we see nothing because only love can reveal things to us. Another image that we find in the same book is perhaps even more tragic. with whom she is connected through love. but God in His presence through grace and beauty. A person dear to him was ill and he came to Christ. Saint Isaac the Syrian says that a man who has got a clear eye and a pure heart does no longer see the darkness in the world because this darkness is superseeded by the shining of the divine grace at work and resting on all things. we are capable of seeing in a dark and evil way: how often we put evil interpretations on things which we see? Instead of seeing them as facts we see them as we understand them from within our darkened soul and our distorted experience. we must remember that if we see nothing. hoping all things and never ceasing to love even if love means laying down our life.eye is dark we see darkness and we are incapable of seeing the depth. How often we misinterpret the actions and words of people because we see with an eye which is already darkened! So. because disengaged from the body she can see now only those things and those people with which. she is blind to all things around her. if we have a revulsion against things. or else the life of the New Adam who gives his life that the world and others may live. in spite of the fact that there was a need. of love altogether and through connection — with this unique love. 30 June In the Name of the Father. and then we shall be able to see with freedom the transparenc(ies) and the shining of the world and in the world. with a purity of heart. the Son and the Holy Ghost. Because ultimately. to interpret with purity of heart and to act from within love. Let us be so careful to see with purity. and (blessing). and as she loves no one except her husband. Is it not the way in which we live? We are surrounded with light and we see nothing but passing shadows or emptiness. nothing. through the small love she had in her life. the translucence and the shining. and love it. it is so often from the way in which we are centred on ourselves and cannot look with serenity. she knows that this bridge cannot be empty. and be in this world in the place which Christ assigned us. This again comes from the way in which we look. Let us learn this lesson at least from the Gospel. however small. there is life around. either the life of the old Adam who must die so that the new Adam should live. Amen. if we see evil — it comes from the darkness within. VIII. there is only emptiness. blessing in His own name. and we are in a wilderness even when we are surrounded with richness. that Christ's words today call us to an extremely careful attitude. however dark they may appear. and again. it comes very often from our blindness. how often a human being passes through our life without leaving any trace. 5-13) 1974. and serve it. believing things. we see not only with our physical eyes which convey to us impressions. This young woman finds herself standing on one of the great bridges. she sees and perceives nothing of it. And it is only when she becomes increasingly aware. our heart had nothing with which it could respond.

And one day their relatedness to Him is such that they could not leave Him even if they wanted to. as a youth. He is always close. but just say the word and my servant will be healed. A spark of love we sometimes have.> If you read the Gospels you will see that the apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ were born and lived in the same area. its joy. we ask the Lord insistently to come close to us. how He becomes gradually more and more to them. When most of Christ‘s disciples abandoned Him the Lord said to the Twelve: ‗Are you also going to go?‘ And Peter answers: ‗Where should we go? Thou hast the word of eternal life‘. so that we may clearly feel His power. gradually. Christ came to live in Nazareth as a child. This relatedness between the disciples and Christ that began perhaps in friendship. the Son of the Living God‘. Even the words of Nathanael ‗Can anything good come out of Nazareth?‘ is not a mysterious saying. One word from God . We know nothing about the impact of His personality growing harmoniously into the fullness of His human stature. and me you can leave out. I will heal him. but links of personal knowledge and familiarity existed. So often when we pray. He is always approaching us. unnoticed by me. the holiness that my soul longs for be fulfilled for my dear ones. how close the Lord would be. as it were from a distance. with such a feeling of His holiness. his servant would recover. how great. but we can sense Him only with a loving and humble heart. but there is not much humility. James was the brother of John. if we think that all the cities and all the villages in which Peter and Andrew. to make His presence felt. Amen.. . When they first met Christ.that was what the man asked for. then in admiration grew to the relationship of disciples and Master. <. they sought out their friends Nathanael and Phillip. "Lord." This is where the amazing centurion‘s faith was manifested. Lord. grant us the miraculous joy of His presence. We know nothing about the early years of these men. John and James and others lived were around the same place. let the good. Peter was the brother of Andrew. in addition to that. not the joy of contact which we all long.asking for a miracle." If only we were able to turn to God with such faith. We ask the Lord that He should fulfil our requests and.. but if we think that Cana of Galilee was less than 4 miles away from Nazareth. I am a sinful man and not worthy that you should enter under my roof. proclaimed by one of them as a gift of God. were the disciples of a cousin of the Lord. the disciples discover the Lord Jesus Christ. and was ready to forgo this joy if only his friend. 1972 It is essential for us to realise the link there is between Christ and the apostles. the apostles lived all about the place of His abode. saying to Christ. I do not need to know what is happening. The disciples of John the Baptist. only do Your will. What would any one of us say if he was told that God Himself had become man in a village four miles away from his own village? And then there is a whole process which we can trace in the Gospels in which one can see how. Pass me by on your way to them‖. of what He truly is: ‗Thou art the Christ. we can imagine that they had met and seen and heard the Lord Jesus Christ as a child. Christ answered the man saying. asking that the Lord should have mercy on him. how the Lord would rejoice at the love which is ready to lay down its life. silently. "Help me. Often we could turn to God and say. This man acted with great simplicity. on the way to Caesarea Philippi becomes a recognition. So if we were to turn to God and say. "I will come. for others. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh CALLING OF THE APOSTLES-From a parish talk on December the 5th. Andrew and John. "No don't trouble yourself to come. The centurion appreciated in his heart how holy the Lord was. nor to feel Your action.

they could. whether it is a friend or a foe. Life has triumphed. this is what we proclaim as the Gospel. they felt that life had gone out of the world. trivial. But through the darkness that blinded people He saw the light at the core. Our body has no power to kill us when it dies. of sympathy for the persecuted. so perfect and complete that they cannot leave Him even if terror comes upon them. He saw that the divine image was imprinted at the very heart of every person. ‗Let us go with Him and die with Him‘. They could no longer live because life had gone out of their lives. through love and oneness — both His and theirs — be alive. death has no power over us. His disciples say: ‗Are you going back into Judaea? Were not the Jews about to kill you?‘ And one of them says. No. it means to be clad with eternity. Then we discover that because this person has died everything which is shallow. as St Paul says. what it was incipiently. to be full of sympathy and compassion for those who are in desperate material need. but then there was no life. the one who so often is thought as a doubter. more than this. from the victory within them of the life of Christ. the crushing weight of the lives of everyone who came to Him. When the burdens we have to carry are noble and tragic it seems to us easy to do so. germinally. it is against this background of Christ's readiness never to reject anyone. when we hear the words of Paul that we should carry one another's burdens. And so. in hiding. it was this life eternal that was dormant in each that He awoke through a touch. for those who are in agony of mind. fighting for the fulfilment in what he calls his body of corruption. But how much they claim from us! Linking it with Christ means that we must be prepared to carry the burden of each person. as it seemed to others. For him death does not mean divesting himself of temporary life. not only of the sick and the needy. that death is no more. it is easy to be full of compassion. but how difficult it . at the very core of their being. afraid. and yet. becomes irrelevant. that we must turn to our neighbour. from the welling up of eternity within them. eternity fulfilled. and so you will fulfil the Law of Christ'. but of those who were wallowing in filth. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh "Carry one another's burdens" Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans XV: l-7 July 14. life had gone out of their lives. too small to be as great as life and death. but alive with an unshaking certainty that no death can deprive them of life any more. by His presence. but that they are so certain from inner certainty. there was only crushing. whether the burden seems to be great and honourable.It is a relationship so deep. That is what happened to them. When Christ tells His disciples that He is going to Bethany because Lazarus has died. or whether it is humiliating to us as it is defiling to the other person. This is what we sing at Easter. This is one of the essential witnesses of the apostles: not simply that they are so faithful in their love for Christ that they are prepared to die. but of the condition of the fallen world. 1991 How beautiful and seemingly simple are the last words of to-day's Epistle: 'Carry one another's burdens. he is not a doubter. no kind of death. That happens to us when someone who is infinitely dear dies. Christ became man and took upon Himself all the weight not only of our creaturely condition. destructive death. not only of those who were clean and persecuted. those who were evil. but they could continue to exist. that in a mysterious way because they had died so deeply and completely through love and oneness with Him. small. of everyone. we become as great as our perception of life and death can make us. One can peacefully let go of temporariness. And all of a sudden they discovered that Christ was alive and that they could live and. but he is not prepared credulously to receive the news of Christ‘s Resurrection with all its resurrecting impact and life-giving power without being sure — because when Christ died on the cross His disciples scattered. He is ready to live and to die with his Master. And that one is Thomas. death was defeated. attached to Him with all the fibres of their heart and mind and soul. He took upon Himself the weight. We turn away from it. and it was to this image He addressed Himself. who suffer in all possible ways. never to see in anyone a person for whom there was no hope left. It is easy to have a moment of compassion for those who are sick in body. through a word.

mean nothing. or who burden us by their very existence. He did not say to His disciples: Keep as much as you need for yourselves. how many of us are capable of this? But there is another way in which we have to carry one another's burdens. And then. the Son and the Holy Ghost. And Christ says to the disciples: No. a passage or another may strike us in a new way. and this burden is not one that ennobles us in our own eyes or in the eyes of others. work miracles within a world so much estranged from Him. listening to the life-giving word of Christ. How difficult it is then to think of them not just as the cause of all that destroys our lives. a steadiness and courage and a likeness to Christ which is far beyond what we are prepared to offer most of the time to most of the people.. in the face of now situations. and the various many. beginning with the closest ones. they need not depart. to bring before God ugliness. Lord! They do not know what they are doing'… These words that are so beautiful and so inspiring. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Reading of the Five Loaves-13 August 1989 In the Name of the Father. And even more so for people who are mentally disturbed and who need our attention still more. at times for decades. We read the Gospel from year to year. tiredness will overcome them. but is simply pure ugly suffering and distress: the dislike of others for us. whether they are historical or personal. and give the rest. God alone can perform this miracle. women. because having been with them. slander and calumny. stood by them. the examples which I gave were burdens that afflicted others and burdens we were only to share. or the way they behave. How much more difficult it is when the burden is laid upon ourselves. We pray in the litanies by saying that we ask God to be merciful to those who hate and wrong us. who have claims on us.bring it before God and say: 'Forgive. when just a glimpse of faith. carry them indeed on our shoulders. and to share for moments. distance from the place where they are to the neighbouring villages is great.is to have a steady sense of compassion for those who are sick for a very long time and who claim our attention week after week. And yet. Carry one another's burdens aid so you will have fulfilled the Law of Christ. they have not eaten a whole day.. At that moment how difficult it becomes to see this person as someone whom we must take upon ourselves. if they stay longer. it is only for a short while that we carry the burdens of those who are in agony of mind and in distress. Yes — in a way. It is only for a few hours that we visit the sick. who are unaware of what they are doing. because the day is spent. thoughtlessness. The disciples call upon Him to send away the multitudes. Today we have read the passage about the feeding of the multitude by Christ. but not if we do not contribute with openness of heart. Amen. who devise and do evil against us! How often it is that people devise nothing. many ways in which our neighbour can make our lives almost unbearable. And more often than not I have read in the Fathers and in the spiritual writers their sense of wonder at the mercy of God and of the power of God Who could feed so many with so little. who need us to stand by them. even to the people whom we love. Let us reflect on every person who is of our acquaintance. whose burdens we are prepared to carry for a moment and then leave the burden on them. And reading today this passage of the Gospel I was struck anew with words of Christ. and of Christ to us. with all the consequences of it and bring this person before God. the hatred of others. let us look farther and learn to accept the burden and carry it as Christ did . and with an open hand. How can they feed a multitude of that kind? A thousand men. unintentional cruelty . but are totally thoughtless.up to death upon the Cross. y o u give them to eat. meanness. and darkness. we will walk out and put down this burden while the other will continue to carry it. and all they have is five loaves of bread and two fishes? And here is a challenge of Christ to them. children. your left-over to . expressed all the genuine concern which was ours. claim from us a generosity. Who could indeed. a crack in our armour of faithlessness allowed Him to act. but as people who are blind. And every time. and from generation to generation in new contexts. year after year.

o. but we can share so much! If our hearts were open. and r e m e m b e r that each of these persons is your own responsibility. and to us perhaps. and reduced their debt. stolen it from the one who has no cloths — he is a thief. If we only remembered. there would be no hunger in the world. If we are afraid of death we will never be prepared to take ultimate risks. But let us not deceive ourselves. and when we hear day after day of the hunger.. that whenever he eats a morsel which is not a necessity. not far beyond but just round us at the needs of people who are hungry. all their homelessness. This means that to solve the problem of death is not a luxury.. he has s t o l e n it from the hungry. by kind gestures that we will have fulfilled it. your richness and your refusal to share. the misery. we will spend our life in a cowardly. to what you spend on yourself unnecessarily. it is not by words of consolation. who are deprived of rights. and when he was to be dismissed by his master who had discovered his dishonesty. ‗look round‘. do not ask Me to work a miracle where you could do the thing yourselves. because we are behaving like bad. It is only if we can face death. need friendship. they could share only five loaves and two fishes. it is also the call of God addressed to each of you. so rich.. and then. and from hearts of stone God had made hearts of flesh within us.. so opulent. there i s such thing as stewardship of wealth — intellectual. to do the rest. Let us reflect on these words of Christ: They need not depart from My presence to order to eat. This is something which we could learn.. every person who is homeless. is. You remember probably the story of the unworthy. in a very special way. s t o l e n it from the homeless. the death indeed from starvation of thousands and thousands of people. so little! — about loving our neighbour actively. careful and timid manner. Isn't it something which the Lord says to us n o w.. and gave whatever help he could. that all their hunger. in days where we are so secure. as one Saint. He says to them: Take all you have. People who are afraid of death are afraid of life. if we had learned a little. or simply our neighbours who are at times s o lonely. He turned to people. taking into account the little faith which we have. Christ said: Give all you have. moral and material. stolen from him. emotional. And what the Lord says to us is simply: Give what you have and let Me act afterwards..others. if we had learned anything of generosity and of mutual responsibility. Amen! Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh ON DEATH Awareness of the present Death is the touchstone of our attitude to life. make . And if we looked round us. need a word of comfort. every person who is in need. This is the judgement of God upon me. Isn‘t that addressed to us much more sharply than to this ascetic? We must reflect on this. It is impossible not to be afraid of life with all its complexity and dangers if one is afraid of death. And what this Gospel says to us today. Not to give beyond your means — just to give. and give it all. without even deriving true joy and pleasure. your comfort. and the narrowness and hardness of our heart. the unfaithful steward who had cheated his master. whose name I can't recall now. leave it to God to fulfil the gift. who are homeless. unworthy stewards. we would begin to fulfil this commandment of Christ. w e d o n o t. The Apostles could do little. all their misery is ultimately the result of you opulence. says in one of his writings. look round at every person who is hungry. solidarity. give them you what they need. to give. he called the people who owed money to his master. an advantage from it — g i v e it. He will say: Give what is superfluous in your life — but give true thought to what is superfluous.. whenever he acquires or possesses anything beyond his strict needs.

Such an approach to the saying must be rejected. haunted always by the fear that death is on its way and that then there will be no point in having lived. may be the summing up of a whole relationship. not a defeat. Death comes before we have had the time or even generated the desire to make a definitive formulation. suspended over his head by a hair. expressing to . We live not in a definitive way. I will sort them out somehow. who suffers from timidity. or else they will come right of themselves'. and from the loss of faith and experience which prevails in our time.sense of it. as though preparing for the day when we really will begin to live. then that we realize how slight the differences between what we usually consider the great things in life and those which are insignificant. the simplest word. that we should be mindful of death throughout our life. not a diminution of it. Most of the time we live as though we were writing a draft for the life which we will live later. We always think that it can be done tomorrow. The most important action in this present is to do the right thing. It is true that things are wrong. And death. There is a patristic injunction. The injunction 'be mindful of death' is not a call to live with a sense of terror in the constant awareness that death is to overtake us and that we are to perish utterly with all that we have stood for. in a condition of gloom. but give me time. ‗The most important moment in life is the present . more particularly. not a trough. We are like people who write a rough draft with the intention of making a fair copy later. the future not yet here. a summit. But the trouble is that the final version never gets written. the manner in which we prepare a tray with a cup of tea. preventing the enjoyment of life and the fulfilment of it. 'I will live approximately today.it is the only one we have. constantly repeated over the centuries. And the most important person in life is the person who is with you at this present moment and for whom you can either do the right thing or the wrong'. when we are aware that he or she may be dead within minutes. Finally he meets a peasant girl who is surprised that he should even ask. It means rather: 'be aware of the fact that what you are saying now. doing now. If only we realized whenever confronted with a person that this might be the last moment either of his life or ours. he will think he is called upon to live under the shadow of death. For the humblest action. but provisionally. the way in which we adjust an uncomfortable cushion become as important as the greatest thing we have ever done. In which case it must be a crowning. The way we speak. There is a Russian children's story in which a wise man is asked three questions: What is the most important moment in life? What is the most important action in life? And who is the most important person? As in all such stories. Too often we wait until the end of our life to face death. But if such a thing is repeated to modern man. more much attentive to the words we speak and the things we do. We need to understand mindfulness of death in its full significance: as an enhancement of life. hearing. he seeks everywhere for an answer and finds none. The value of the present moment may be realized when someone dear to us has a terminal illness and. we would be much more intense. enduring or receiving now may be the last event or experience of your present life'. would act as a sword of Damocles for him. if remembered constantly and deeply. for the past is gone. Tomorrow is when I shall act in a definitive way. whereas we would have lived quite differently if only we had faced death at the outset. Yet we all know that the time never actually comes. It is then that we recognize the importance of every gesture and action. determine its place and our place in regard to it that we will be able to live in a fearless way and to the fulness of our ability. That is precisely what is meant by mindfulness of death.

When people say. will make it so intense that its totality is summed up in the present moment. all the things which I have left undone or done amiss'. all those statements and actions which are meaningless. we should always be ready to challenge them and ask whether their acceptance or even longing for death does not disguise a fear of life: 'I am terrified of life and would like to escape from it at all costs .awareness of our own self and of the other person's situation. Our words and actions would be weighed before they are spoken or performed so that they might be culminating point in life and express the perfection of a relationship. enabling him to meet face to face the Lord who is all his love and all his life. To be precise. without an intermediate period of fear and uncertainty.perfection all the depth of that relationship. to pass the other person by. he is expressing a completely positive attitude to death. against all the attitudes which allow us to miss the moment of opportunity.]. Indeed. I wish I could return to the condition of my early childhood when there was no need for me to live responsibly and I could simply play'. Such precisely is the way in which the ascetics fought against mindlessness. our own and other people's. Most people might be ready to accept death if they were sure that death would come as sleep. if only I could leave others to face my responsibilities. there is even something beguiling and attractive about death. We should not be romantic in our attitude to death. Only awareness of death will give life this immediacy and depth. that we are afraid of death or uncertain about it. for it is one of the ways in which we are beguiled into turning away from what life offers in terms of a challenge and in terms of relationship. which is far better' (Phil 1:21..if only I could go to sleep and never wake up. an awareness that will stand the test of life and death. Death appears to him as a gate that will open on to eternity. all the love. All life is at every moment an ultimate act.. not to notice the need. longing for death We know from experience. Fear of death. Their love of death was not founded on a fear of life. But this cannot be achieved by wishful thinking. I think that we are more afraid of the process of dying than of the fact of death. 'I am not afraid of death'. Most of us would prefer to play at living rather than to live commitedly. ambiguous or destructive — for these there would be no place. 'I wish I were dead': it is a way of saying. In order to be able to long for death in this . Consequently there is a fascination in death. When St. 'For me to live in Christ and to die is gain [. Paul says. I should like to depart and to be with Christ. One of the chief things that we are called upon to learn is awareness . never less. If we look to the saints we discover an altogether different attitude to death. But in that sense death must be seen as an adversary. will bring life to life. lack of attention and carelessness. How often people say. seen as a liberation from the burden and responsibility of life. There is more to it than that. our life would change profoundly. 23). 'I wish I could be free of all responsibility either to myself or God or anyone else. concern and truth that are within it. If only we could perceive the urgency of every moment in the awareness that it may be the last. The idle words which the Gospel condemns (Matt 12:36).

They may long for their child to remain a little boy and they may be deeply disturbed at the sight of the young adult emerging out of the youngster. Could we not treat this as a parable of the process by which we die and wake in eternity? For in reality there is a great risk in closing one's eyes and going to sleep. This is something many people are afraid to do. we must accept that something in us dies. dying from a practical point of view means to drop out of self-awareness into an oblivion of self. Why? Because we feel certain . we must have an experience of eternal life here and now. The apostles became fearless only when they themselves became . And this eternal life was known as a present experience. we even go so far as to take sleeping pills or nightcaps.particular way and to see death as the crowning of our life. When we move from infancy to childhood. We trust that the next morning will dawn for us. As long as they had not received the witness of Christ's resurrection. a number of things which were previously our condition must die in us: for a youth or adult preserves the characteristics of his childhood becomes childish. There is no more dangerous place than one's bed. When the sailor asked why he should think so. The peasant insisted that he would never risk his life on the sea: 'It is far too dangerous'. What I have to say on this subject is neither new nor my own: perhaps more than anything else in my talk it is borrowed from others. they were still afraid and clung in fear to their temporal life. And this dying may be a painful and difficult process. the peasant replied: 'Where did your father die?' 'At sea. as noted in the story of the sailor and the peasant. In order to acquire maturity at the next stage of development. and we all could speak of experiences of 'death' which are in no sense frightening. Many parents know this all too well. in a way as difficult as the actual dying of our body in the dissolution of death. Yet each of us goes to sleep every evening. their fear of losing temporal life disappeared. who were considering the dangers of their respective conditions. As Romano Guardini has pointed out in his book The Last Things. that sleep is a temporary experience. not only in an act of faith. They were ready to die and possessed the sovereign freedom of self-giving because they knew life eternal and had in some measure already entered into it. persecution and murder could do nothing more than free them from this life's limitations and enable them to enter into the boundless depths of eternal life. First of all.to a great extent unjustifiably pertain . And when this kind of temporary death does not come easily to us. as future happiness or future security.' 'And his father?' 'Also in his bed. The same is true of the martyrs. But if we are to develop.' 'And you still can't see how dangerous it is to go to sea?' But the sailor countered the question with his own: 'And where did your father die?' 'He died in his bed. Death as an event in daily life We could learn much about death if we took the trouble to look at our own experience. loses himself completely in sleep. we imagine that we grow out of one stage into the next. Death is much closer to us than we imagine. there are several ways of dying in the course of a life. and without any fear.' 'And yet you dare to go to bed each night?' In this sense we ourselves face death trustfully and confidently each night. as its unfolding to the measureless measure of eternity (to use a paradoxical phrase of St Maximus the Confessor).' 'And your grandfather?' 'Also at sea. Is it not curious that we fail to draw conclusions from the simplest things of life? There is another way in which the experience of death is familiar to us all. The process of dying in order to live is going on within . But the moment they had access to life eternal. then to youth and adolescence and so to maturity and old age. as long as they had not received the Spirit. for they knew that hatred. even infantile.that we shall wake the next morning.here and now partakers of eternal life. We must not think of eternal life as something that will come later.

Death to self Christ calls us to die to ourselves. even an aggression.and we can believe it only on the strength of experience . his calling is for eternal life. to live is Christ and to die is gain. also shows that it is not . Many feel that they cannot be aware of their own existence unless they assert themselves and demand recognition. We need to be affirmed by our neighbour. The person who is asserted in such a way can forget about himself and live.that we are loved and affirmed by others. although I am afraid to do so. however tentatively. not to impress upon others this awareness that we exist. meaning as it does 'You matter to me so ultimately that I will assert you before the face of God. yet I will assert you as much as I can'.us all the time: by contrast with such parents we must become aware of it and participate more actively in it. and try to apply it in that sense. It is not enough to know that God loves us and affirms us. Such is the line along which we are called to go. our neighbour. breach with neighbour. it is God's enemy in the most striking and dramatic way. Although I am not sure how to do it completely. but they remain wounded by the terror of it. and a superficial self that has to be dissolved. Death as enemy and friend Yet things are not so simple. death is the result of sin in the sense of separation from God. God's as much as ours. At every step we have to renounce ourselves so that the other can be. and others of course react by trying to defend themselves against this kind of aggression. Man was not created for death. We can accept not to assert ourselves. In this way. We must let go of the superficial self in order to live fully. since your existence so far is a challenge. 'Yes. It is true that to die is not to be divested of temporal life. Indeed. death is the last enemy that shall be destroyed (1 Cor 15:26). 'You matter ultimately to me'. It is true that. Then shall we be less afraid of death as an irrevocable loss. So to die means to leave nothing within us except that which is essential to the fullness of life. who says to us. Gabriel Marcel insists in one of his books that to tell a person 'I love you' is tantamount to saying 'You shall never die'. As St John the Baptist spoke of himself decreasing in order that the Other might increase (John 3:30). I am prepared to assert you. Fortunately they fail. may live. Paul says. that it kills him who is perfect man and God himself incarnate. as St. as also by the rest of Scripture. the fact that it does reach out to Christ. like everything else that is said about death. From that point of view. But while on the one hand death is such an enemy. We must have the courage to struggle through layers of fear in asserting one another ever more. so are we called to die progressively to ourselves that the other. Rather shall we learn to regard it as an inevitable part of the process by which we grow into a more mature and complete life. we could grow to the maturity that will allow us to assert the other and proclaim his ultimate value whatever the cost. But there is a further point emphasised by St Paul. yet overcoming it. Does it mean self-destruction? Many imagine that it does. loss of contact with man's real and deeper self. We must learn to be far greater than we are. We could achieve a great deal if we were prepared to recognize one another and to say. dying to oneself means acceptance of this progressive dying of things within us. fighting fear. for it extends even to Christ himself. only if we can believe . by at least one person. Properly understood. but to be clothed with eternity. even if no one asserts you but God and myself'. until we come to the point when we realize that there is in us a real and deep self that belong to eternity. What does this mean? The phrase is ambiguous. Death is the enemy.

On the one hand death should not exist. It was an incident that made me take more note . death is the result of evil and is to be defeated. evil and corruption. But we should keep in mind that there are two aspects or death. I was utterly amazed that a priest. we would slowly decay and disintegrate without ever being able to escape the horror of such gradual destruction. a prisoner of endlessness. having undone death by death. you evil good-for-nothing. in his descent into hell. Even now however germinally and tentatively . he brings with him the fullness of the divine presence. had never met death in his family life or in his priestly function . But although he descends to the place where all those who have lost God descend. But there is no longer the death which was the terror of mankind. people dying as before. When we look at icons of Christ's harrowing of hell or speak of it in the Apostle's Creed. the chaplain said to me. the place where God is not. what St Paul describes as a falling asleep (1 Cor 15:6). but you have deprived me of my freedom. Afterwards. bent with age and illness. There is physical death. But then it became obvious that while death might have gone. It would seem as if we are affirming something that we know to be untrue. Physical and spiritual death Each Easter midnight and throughout the forty days that follow we sing that Christ is risen. And in that sense death is indeed undone by death. we are confronted by something unquestionably real. The soldier realized what harm he had done and unleashed death. Consequently there is now no place left where God is not. Christ was not defiled in his death on the Cross. For however much a result of sin and evil death may be. the final dissolution and separation from God. And yet what do we see? Death free and abroad.including the final separation from God ('My God.even during the war. my God. but there is also death. it is not in itself a sin or an evil which necessarily corrupts whoever it touches. He chose to share with us in all the consequences of evil . Here am I. part of a process that has no resolution'.an evil devoid of meaning. illness and old age were as much present as before. she shook her fist at him and shouted: 'Look what you have done.we are the heirs of eternal life. I need hardly add that it is still free and abroad. I have never seen a dead person'. a man in his fifties moreover. And it is this which allows us to understand our situation since Christ's death and resurrection. On the other hand death alone enables us to break through the vicious circle of endlessness (and endlessness is something quite different from eternity). in his partaking of the total tragedy of death: his person was not polluted by communing in its mystery. We have still to undergo a temporary death. If there were no death in a world of sin. And when the soldier one day met an old woman. understood as separation from God. The Lord experienced not only the first aspect of death. There was a soldier in a Russian fable who managed to capture death and put it into a bag. but the second also. safely secured. and was regarded at first as a benefactor who had saved mankind from its greatest scourge. 'Do you know. the place of his radical and definitive absence. Facing death I once went to preach about death at a British university. He carried the bag on his back. So there is an ambiguity here. as descent into Sheol. why has thou forsaken me?'). It is this second aspect of death which is certainly the more cruel and atrocious. You may have captured death.

In the process he made his peace with all those around him. and to anyone else who is willing to listen. where it was discovered that he had inoperable cancer and would die. But his family was. the cancer or whatever it is that seeks to destroy the body. After that we went through a long process (extending over several months) during which. remorse. nurses. with time flowing by on either side of him. He was taken to hospital. It is as simple as that. nor any reason to feel guilty. most obviously with death. It may take us some time to die of it. and to let the doctors look after the rest. bitterness. if only I could simply be'. I reminded him also that as yet he had never made any serious attempt to put a stop to time. Freedom from the power of death How then shall we prepare? From one point of view death has power over us. At the same time very few are prepared to reflect that their own turn will come. seeing things as they were. Since giving that sermon I have taken every opportunity to speak about preparation for death to medical students.not so much in moral terms as skilfully. in the right way. The dead person should be committed to the care of the undertakers. lack of peace. 'There is so much still to do. and so was I. I urged him to concentrate on all the power of death that lay within him. Thus he had no reason to complain. yet I go through the motions in respect of all sorts of things'. unable to do a thing. The other consists of all the negative attitudes and feelings that suck away vitality from within: resentment. And he could be as freely. day by day. completely and perfectly as he chose.of my surroundings. while the living should turn away from the problem. and the less said about it the better. How long is it to be?' I reminded him of something he had often said: 'If only I could put a stop to time. We were born and we shall die. ‗There is still turmoil within me. I found all this very offensive. Yet we are all of us sick with the terminal disease known as mortality. . he assessed his attitude to those who were closest to him. sixty years or more. He had the time to do it. Now God had done it for him. And I have made the discovery that people are quite ready to think about preparing for the death of others. and I realized that there is a very strong feeling here that death is a subject to avoid. He was not told about it at first. But we are all without exception sick with it and there is no doubt but that death will ensue. but from an absolute angle. When I went to see him his first reaction (as so often is the case) was one of protest and recrimination. Some years ago one of our parishioners fell ill. not from a pragmatic point of view. Yet lying still as he was. moreover was able to do it in the right spirit. possibly thirty. It follows that preparing for death cannot concern merely the other person or persons in our care. it concerns ourselves. regrets. and here am I lying in this bed. doctors. I can do nothing. The whole thing was beyond his power to change. and learning how to live well in order to die well . taking a stand. the virus. and that preparation for death really begins with assessing death for oneself. he answered. But there is another aspect of death over which we can have some control. I put it to him that illness always confronts us with the things that are ultimate. The one power is extrinsic: the germs. he was given the stillness of his present condition. In death there are two elements or powers in action. When I asked him whether he felt that he was yet in a condition of being.

Too often we fail to resolve something in our past because we turn in the wrong direction. It took a great deal of courage. but that now it is too late to do anything about it. there is nothing left of my strength. 'What do you mean. Eventually. you are the only one who has the power to forgive. For the rest of his life he could never find peace. to assess what he had done or left undone. He had found himself at that point of absolute cogency and stability which was free and independent of whatever might happen to his body. had accidentally shot the girl he loved. is and always remains between people who met and loved each other on earth. The death of the body does not involve a breach in a relationship that was. I met a man in his eighties who. Gradually all this field was cleared. Forgive me.' 'Indeed you did'. I am a dying man. he reached the point when he was almost transparent. "turn to the girl"? I killed her sixty years ago. but who is now long since dead. to the girl'. I answered. and it seems as if there is no way of setting things right. a nurse in his unit. to a priest to be forgiven? These were not your victims. we. Never should we say that we loved one another in the past tense. we sometimes remember someone we have harmed. Let me give an example. The seeds we sow . He told me that he had repented deeply. had confessed and received absolution. Turn to the one you killed. so weak that he could hardly use his hands to bring food to his lips. And ask God to give me an assurance of forgiveness through peace". But it made no difference: nothing could free him from his sense of guilt. All too frequently people who have lost someone whom they loved feel that they have not loved them as perfectly as they should. So I said to him. to Christ. "It is sixty years ago now. but I still carry the guilt and reproach of what I did to you. For it is by no means easy for a man to look at his own life from the stability of the present moment and to make this moment the beginning of God's judgement on himself. that they are indebted to them in terms of love.Next we went back into his past. 'For that very reason. It is never too late if we truly believe that God is the God of the living. 'How extraordinary it is. seeking to understand his own sense of guilt. It is not too late When we recall our past as this man did.' He acted on my suggestion and indeed gained such assurance. for our part. Yet I have never felt so intensely alive as I feel now'. then all those who have departed this life are alive in him. nearly sixty years before. Yet he said to me. though our bodies die. He was taken aback. what others had done or omitted to do. 'Why do you turn only to God. Only if we free ourselves from all the germs of death which are within us can we reach such a point. As the victim. when he was an officer in the Russian Civil War. where we become aware that we are ultimately immortal. when you are at prayer this evening turn to her and say. If God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Matt 22:33). This is a mistake which we should never allow ourselves to make. moving from one thing to another. can turn to them for their intercession and forgiveness.

Death is never the end. By contrast. 'but that's no accident. I remember a fable by Krylov. but also a miserable little treatise on the inequality of races.' 'How so?' 'Well'. On the positive side. Unfortunately. we have met today. many centuries ago. said the devil. ‗Lord. I myself owe my faith to St Mark. then we give him a rest because it subsided. It is a treatise that would now be altogether and deservedly forgotten. and yet you give me such a violent boiling. Whereas this man committed murder and he is relaxing as if that were his bath'. Our life does not end conveniently when we die. The good we have done continues after us and bears fruit in the lives of others. I read St Mark's Gospel and Christ revealed himself and entered into my life. formulated and wrote down for the sake of Christ. If there is anything good that has come out of my life it is because one day. He was a theoretician. Thou are also the Way — teach this person. The author took a quick look over the rim of his cauldron to see how the murderer was faring. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh On being true to oneself-12th August 1990 In the Name of the Father. It continues over the centuries through heredity and through the byproducts of our existence. consider the effect of the Gospels. In this connection. It is difficult to suppose that Gobineau shares no responsibility before God for all that resulted from his book. and they were to cost millions of innocent lives. and say. can do is to stand before God in awe. There is a theological point here. when I was fifteen years of age. But his theories became practice. said the devil. As for you. This they gain from what someone. even on earth. the other had merely written some trashy novels. Time and again I am asked by people on a concrete occasion ‗What is the Will of God for me now. Thou art the Truth. Gobineau wrote some remarkable short stories. be to this person the Way. in the nearest future?‘ And I always refuse to speak in God's own Name. One was a murderer. or any priest. except for one thing: it was read by Hitler. Thou art Life. such as the French nineteenth century writer Gobineau. There are countless people who have been converted and transformed by reading even a small passage from them. enlighten this person with the . 'True'. Thus. I have spoken. I think of quite other people who have written books. whenever anyone buys one of your books we stoke up the fire under your cauldron and add extra fuel'. the corollary is also true: we can also leave a legacy of evil. it's deliberate. Two individuals were sentenced to hell and placed in neighbouring cauldrons. and we continue to carry a responsibility for its repercussions. To his indignation he saw the murderer basking in tepid water. So we give him a hard boiling every now and again because that's how his rage flared up. 'this man murdered someone in a fit of rage. I shall be answerable for anything that you will have received and for the way in which it may affect your life. the Son and the Holy Ghost. He summoned the devil on duty and expressed his dissatisfaction: 'I merely wrote some novels. because I believe that all I. He himself was being boiled so fiercely that he could not imagine how his neighbour might be treated.

but the freedom to be ourselves. we are a true human being already. the freedom to grow into the fullness of the stature which God has dreamt for us. the like of God. when I read these words? How beautiful they are! How true! That is life!. And if you find one passage or another to which you respond this way. the first thing which is required of us is that we should be true to ourselves: not to try to be anyone except the person we are. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh TRANSFIGURATION-19 August 1990 . at least potentially. if we want to be truly ourselves. it does not stir my will. and to be true with all the integrity. but now: where do I already stand? What can I already now be and do. given by God. In Christ freedom is granted. potentially. ‗If God stood before you. and say 'This person has understood that he is not a slave. as it were. I believe in my heart that it must be true. Mark the Ascetic in which he says. to lie to ourselves. to the faith He has in us. ‗Do this. The first rule is to be true to ourselves. you will become His like. There is a passage so beautiful. to God's respect for us. within this friendship.truth. of a joy of mutual freedom. we must remember that God does not expect us to be what we are not. to grow into fullness that will make us truly living members of the Body of Christ. a true undistorted image — at least in one or two things. all the joy of which we are capable. to such an example. like Luke and Cleophas on the way to Emmaeus: Does not my heart burn within me when I hear. Accept me as I am! I will change — but for the moment I cannot respond to such a commandment. it does not transform me yet. And yet there are things which can be done. shown you that you and He are in harmony. but it does not set my mind aglow. we can read the Gospel which is an image of what a true human being is. a deception for others. in the writings of St. of orders. feels. because at that point God has reached you at the deepest level of your being. truly are. slaves of all the things that press on all sides and do not allow us to be true people. does and is. and within this freedom. that he is My friend — and He is our friend. of our life and our faith in Christ does not consist in being drilled into doing one thing rather than the other. all the passion. On whatever step of our spiritual development we are. not a book of commandments. And what does this mean? Apart from what I said a moment ago. to force ourselves into any mould in heart. What a joy! And it is a gift of God. but at another level. Let us look into the Gospel as one looks into a mirror. 'Lord! I have read this and that in the Gospel. but at the same time revealed to you Who He truly is. rejoice. revealed to you who you truly are. and harmony between Him and you‘. and do that — and your heart could not answer 'Amen' — don't do it. And that we can stand before God. of our fears. the aim of our spiritual life. Then there is another move. and we will discover that in so many ways we are a distorted image but that in a few ways perhaps. to me. Paul said clearly. Let us mark those passages of which we can say. not to try to ape any behaviour. my heart on fire. not in the absolute. it means that we must find who we are not only socially. to the hope He has vested in us. I understand it with my mind. and said. partakers of the Divine Nature. in mind. Each of us is a freeman of God. that if you only become what you already.. but what we are. and bring him to such plenitude of life as no one can either convey or give‘. as St. and you will be right in My sight‘ — no: it is a picture of what a real human being thinks. in response to God's love. and say to Him. which we can give Him as we received it from Him! Amen. not licence. in will which could be a lie before God. it is to establish between God and us a relationship of true friendship. and do it wholeheartedly with God? — because in the end. And to do this. because God does not need your action: He needs your consent. Let us therefore try when we ask ourselves in an attempt to find out what the Will of God is for us. slaves of our passions. He says there was a time when we all were slaves of Satan. Do this.

at a moment of purity of heart. with unutterable joy. the crucifying point of suffering. with a sense of worship and adoration. still without a name. with the inability of the disciples to do anything for this child. It happens when our eyes are open. but when the suffering remains pure. But there are also other moments when we can see a person whom we thought we have always known. but at the same time with such exulting joy and wonder! Moses had entered that cloud and was allowed to speak to God as a friend speaks to a friend. It happens when someone is aglow with joy. with love. becomes transparent. It happens also when a person is at the deepest point. when pure suffering shines out. touching rock and plant. as Saint Paul calls Him. in the glory of God. with an awesome beauty which we have never suspected before. And now. we are told. He brought them down into the valley to be confronted with the agony of the father whose child could not be cured. in their togetherness they . it was a decisive point. the one representing the Law and the other one representing the Prophets: both have proclaimed the time when salvation would come. with worship. and yet. crucified love of the Holy Trinity. he was allowed to see God passing by him. became revealed to them. There are blessed or tragic moments when we can see a person revealed to us in a light with a depth. when no hatred. This can help us to understand what the Apostles saw when they were on the Mount of Transfiguration. But Christ had told them that the time has come to go down into the valley. gave Himself ultimately to the Cross.In the name of the Father. And we are told that He had chosen these three disciples because together. they entered into that cloud which is the divine glory. At that moment it became imminent. when the Man of suffering will take upon Himself all the burdens of the world.that is where He brought them. and He shone with the glory of the perfect. sacrificial. They wanted to stay there forever. they saw the divine light streaming through the transparent flesh of Christ. no resentment. stood by Him. no evil is mixed to it. Last week we heard Him say that the Son of God will be delivered in the hand of men. still without a face. it is also the divine image. and they will crucify Him. They saw Christ in glory at a moment when His total surrender to the will of the Father. The Apostles saw the shining. What they perceived was the glory. because in all the created world man alone has sinned and is blind. to leave the Mount of Transfiguration because this was the beginning of the way of the Cross. what they perceived was the wonder of being there. but on the third day He will rise. in humble and triumphant surrender. as it shone invisibly to many from the crucified Christ. and calling out of them a response of light. becomes pure. falling on all the things around Him. They alone did not understand. And yet. His final and ultimate acceptance of His own human destiny. in the presence of Christ revealed to them in glory. with awe. they were shown the mystery. when the Lamb of God slain before all ages would take upon Himself all the tragedy of this world. as we do at moments when something fills us with adoration. the light shining in the darkness of a human soul. because it is not only God Himself Whom the pure in heart will see. they saw the face of God in the Incarnation. of the human life that we can see at moments when our heart becomes still. the Son and the Holy Ghost. with the expectation of the people who now could turn to no one but Him . and the responsive love of Jesus the Man. and He had to be merged into all that was tragic in human life. that filled them with awe. They saw His face and they saw His glory shining out of tragedy. It was a moment when in His humanity Christ. Moses and Elijah. in a light that is a revelation. no bitterness. with fear.

go now in His name. but because they have reached us with the ring of truth. 1987 In the name of the Father. There are moments when we also see something which is beyond us. and how much we wish we could stay. because the Lord said "By thy words thou shall be judged. and it is your God that is to answer your question. you are speaking to your God. this is life. but to every Christian who is called to be a witness. And then Christ gives us two indications. go now. of His crucifixion. the righteousness of James. not because God has spoken. "You are wrong". but as one of the Psalms puts it. surpassing all human goodness. ‗He who has seen his brother has seen God‘? . this is the way into eternal life. those who have a heart capable of perceiving the surpassing goodness of the Lord Jesus. The one is: if you wish to have eternal life. To-day's Gospel challenges us all so sharply." Judged. because it is as responsible to hear as it is to speak. the love of John. all human beauty and truth — it is a testimony: Yes. It should be from the depths of our heart that we accomplish the Commandments: not because we are commanded from outside. of His Divinity. and truth and life. "Why do you call Me 'good'? Good is only God".and serve one another with love sacrificial.go now together with Him. How often do we think — as this young man. to face His descent into hell after His death and to receive the news of His resurrection: the faith of Peter. the Son and the Holy Ghost. who am preaching. you who are hearing. how shall you stand before the judgement of God? This does not apply only to the priest. . an apostle. who need divine light. May God give us faith. and thereby. Amen. because if you proclaim God's truth and remain idle and not the doer of what the Lord has commanded. It begins with words that may be interpreted in more than one way: "Good Lord — what shall I do to have eternal life?" And the Lord answers. You are now on the Mount of Transfiguration. to those who have ears to hear. but because with all our being we have answered "Amen!" This is true. stay forever in this blissful condition. He does not say. and what you know well enough to proclaim to others — then. and bring people to Him that they may live! This is our vocation. one that brings God's word to the people who are in darkness or twilight. and the purity of heart that allows us to see God in every brother and sister of ours! Didn't one of the Desert Fathers say. He does not deny His right to be called good as God is good. When we hear Christ mentioning these Commandments — where are we? Who of us can say that he was faithful to every word of this short list that indicates that without which we cannot live? Where do we stand? I. with the exulting joy of giving our lives to one another as Christ gave His life for us. The Commandments of God are not only rules of behaviour (although. but because the Lord says. We want perfection without having first trod the road of the Commandments.held the three great virtues that make us capable of sharing with God the mystery of His incarnation. keep the Commandments. should be in our inmost hearts. It is not only awesome. and it is not only because we are incapable of it that we are not allowed to stay in it. and with how little reason — that we want perfection. at times it is frightening to preach the Word of God. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh The Rich Young Man-August 30. of course they are such). you have seen Christ ready to be crucified for the life of the world .

Christ did not condemn this young man. and our burden. but we hug those things which are so precious to us. it is something that has happened to a young man. "I have only one thing against you — you have forgotten your first love". things which are more important to him than anything material. When Christ says to us "Follow Me". that is: the only thing we are not prepared to give away. Where to? Along the road of human life on one hand. He had earthly possessions. we may call Him by all the names that mean that we should reach the fullness of our being. all things are possible. at times we imagine that we can outgrow ourselves — all the same. In the Book of Revelation there is a passage that says. perhaps saddened." It is not only material things which we can give: every one of us has treasures hoarded in his mind and heart. the kind of persons of whom God dreamed when He created us — and it is not true. and as long as we can struggle on earth — there is time. He let him go wounded at the heart. "I have trodden all this road. We do not put things in such a crude manner. that is his wealth. we may call Him 'Happiness'. He does not call us to walk a frightening. The answer to to-day's Gospel is so clear — "Who then can be saved?" — To man it is not possible by our own strength. And we do not follow the Commandments because we think that we can achieve it in a simpler manner. and still we hope that we will enter the Kingdom of God. our fetters. as Christ said. let us turn to life. this is our first love: to become as great as God has dreamed us. let us become all we are capable of being. outlined in these terms as one can outline a road by milestones? Do you want to attain fullness — start at that point. Let us reflect on this story. "Have you been faithful to the way of life which I have described to you in terms of commandments. willed us. we may call Him 'Fulfilment‘. It happens to all of us when God says. but to God. give everything away and follow Him. dark road. Whom we call in so many ways: we may call Him 'Life'. This is not even a parable. for God?". is the Living God. but we have so many possessions which are not material and which are our burden. we will have been faced with an ultimate choice. and went away sad. Each of us should turn inward and ask himself. we will become in all fullness what we are called to be. I know every meander of it — you can safely follow! I am like the good shepherd that walks in front of his sheep. let go of himself." And if you are aware of having been faithful in these things. And this first love. so that the sheep may be safe. on the other hand — into the fullness of life eternal. At times we know that only in God it is possible. and we do not give away all we have. because what He had said was like seed sown into the mind and heart of this young man. and nothing is . even for eternal life? The young man heard the words of Christ.But Christ says to us quite clearly: "If you want perfection — give all you possess." We all will go home like the young man. called to be himself by an act of heroic will and surrender. we will reach perfection. nor are we able to give away our most precious treasure: but remember — we will not go condemned. then ask yourself the further question: what is the treasure which I will not give away." That is our hope: God is with us. He says. in a hope that God will accept us. meeting all dangers himself. puzzled in his mind. in his soul. time goes — let it not be too late. Christ let him go without a word of reproach. But let us not be beguiled by the length of time: time flies. for each of us. indeed. there is in this story one thing that can give us so much hope. that neither are we keeping the Commandments. "What is there which is my peculiar treasure? What are those things which I will not give away even for life eternal. And yet.

free. We must only learn so to dispose it as to catch the wind. the mother takes both the little hand and the pencil into hers and moves. the action of God. the Son and the Holy Ghost. We must learn to open up. sons of God by adoption. It is only when we become receptive that the divine power can become active. possess them as a gift. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh WHO CAN BE SAVED?-10 October 1967 In the name of the Father. and we are closed. who then can be saved? This is the question which the Apostles asked from the Lord. our very frail . and His reply was both encouraging and also so disheartening. If you remember that in Scripture. If so hard. where the spirit breeze and open wide so as to be filled with it. we are told that it is grace Divine that wrote all that the Apostles wrote. The Spirit is not the highest point of our soul. This is a first type of frailty which is helpful for us in our search of God. as long the hand is limped in the mother‘s hand how beautiful are the lines! Straight. we build a new Tower of Babel and we go astray and we do not reach to heaven. until we truly understand what the lines are and what the writ is! But we do not and our imaginary. is to become capable of receiving the grace of God which is given us so freely. citizen of heaven. because it is supple. heaven must come down to us for us to be filled with what heaven is. in the words. to become receptive and this is what St Paul meant when He said. things earthly never grow to become heavenly. We all are weak. when we try do so.too much for us. This is also what we do continuously: the Lord is trying to direct our hand. The first is not far as it may seem from concrete. strict reality. Things of God are divine and we can only receive them. You have certainly seen how a little child is given his first lessons in writing: a pencil is put into his hand. so absolutely exacting are the claims of the Gospel. because it can be directed into any direction by the wind himself. the life of eternity is not simply the fullness of the life of time. otherwise we block the way to God's actions. Amen. "My power is made manifest in weakness". that it is the power and the action of God Himself and not human sagacity and strength and cleverness. it pushes and it pulls and the lines go wrong. if we display a sail. But a moment comes when the child imagines that he knows what the mother intends to do and then the child becomes helpful. the blowing of God. so as to allow to be filled with it. this sail is capable of catching the wind because it is frail. But very often our weakness is still there and yet we try to be strung and wise and active and it prevents God from doing what He could easily do if only we did not help in an untimely way. for those who wish to achieve things with their own strength. so generously. then this example will perhaps make sense: when we sail a boat. But how then can we become capable of receiving what God is ready to give? In the Epistle of St Paul. but all things are possible for God. so that the only way in which we can fulfil our vocation and become what we are meant to be. spoken to him by the Lord Himself. the word which we read ―The Spirit‖ means the blowing of the wind. that we know exactly what He intends and we are so helpful! And so ugly is the writ in this Book of Life. but we are not at all receptive. He said. be supple and yet learn to be perceptive where the wind blows. not reach out to them or conquer them simply by growing heavenwards. there is a special way in which we must become weak in order to be receptive and I will try to explain it or to hint at it by three examples. but which we receive with such scarcity because our hearts are narrow. to make us write the right story of our life in the Book of Life. this is impossible for men. But it is not only weakness. If only we can learn to have our hand directed until we truly understand what God means to do. so as to allow the Spirit Himself to direct the course of our boat. but we imagine that we know better. There is a breach of continuity as it were between things heavenly and things earthly. And so long as the child does not know what the mother intends to do. we become capable of directing it thanks to the wind that blows.

to discern the pattern of the divine writ and then. a love so great that He accepted not only our human destiny. this intelligent understanding. left God-less upon the Cross. the Son and the Holy Ghost. who should know — haven't we heard the Gospel? Do we not know what happened to Christ because of our sinfulness? Are we not aware that the words spoken by Christ apply to all of us? — and yet. Our gratitude for that love which alone can save. the salvation comes because salvation lies in the perfect harmony there is between the will of God and the will of man. the full harmony between Him who is all things. and yet imprisoned this life is by the trunk. indeed as one of those who did not know what they were doing! And of a sudden she found herself face to face with the fact that sin means death. These two examples show that we must be frail with intelligence. an ultimate destruction in the eyes of the people of . beginning and within the city of man. life and frailty are always associated to each other. to acquire this wide. And she was brought to Christ by the crowd who wanted to apply the harshness of the old-testamental law to her. how little life there is in the trunk and how protected. forgive them because they don't know what they are doing‘. but remember one thing: the price He had to pay to have power to forgive. partakers of the life divine. and yet. watchful. be sure of God's forgiveness. the situation of a fallen world. shared with us all our human destiny. and the Old Testament proclaimed death unto her. why hath Thou forsaken Me?. And we are saved by His life and by Hid death. the Son of God. But there is something else which we can learn from today's second Lesson: the story of the woman taken in adultery. to unlearn the false creativeness that has made the world in which we live so frightening. She knew that sin meant death. and to learn that alert. who are called to become partakers of the divine nature. And Christ saw that at that moment she had understood everything. we are saved by His words. and they are full of life. But do such words apply to us who know. The Living God became a true and living man. frail with open mind. Strength and limitation. because it is His death that pleads our forgiveness. our creatureliness. Saint Seraphim of Sarov said to one of his visitors. and look at the vine: how frail the little branches and the terminal twigs are.. This woman had been sinning. Yes. and don't ask Him lightly for forgiveness. and us.. He. all its sufferings including the tragedy of death which implies the tragic loss of consciousness of His communion with the Father: My God.. how strong and powerful. strength and deadness always go together. ‗Father.. May God grant us to overgrow our weakness and our illusory strength. and pleading for us that we may be forgiven. My God. but to loose communion with the Father in order to identify Himself with us in all ways and respects. An old writer gave an example of this when he said: look at an oak. This is what we must learn. She realised then what sin was. vigilant suppleness and frailty through which God can work freely and build the Kingdom of God. if we bring nothing. And if we ask ourselves what can we bring — we can bring first of all our gratitude. freely. weakness and frailty. And we cannot. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Sunday before Exaltation of the Cross -24 September 1989 In the Name of the Father. frail with all the suppleness we are capable of. light-mindedly. Amen. without a response from our deepest self turn to God and ask forgiveness at the cost of His death. don't bring unworthy prayers unto Him. and then we will learn first and become creative afterwards.strength appears to be strong enough to blur what God is writing with His hand.. without mercy. without understanding. She was taken in the act. In today's Gospel we are told that God did not send His Only-Begotten Son into the world to judge the world but to save the world. be sure that God will respond to your prayer. nothing at all but our desire to be free of the burden that crushes us. with a difference.

— Neither do I condemn thee. in all her being that sin was death. And these words she could indeed receive in her heart. God so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son unto death. this is why He turned to the judges. but we have the Gospel speaking to us. we know all things: where do we stand? Let us learn from her. Amen. as love is gratuitous and redeeming.but is that love? Does that mean that we love this person as the most precious person in the eyes of God and the most precious person in my eyes. His . no-one should be forgotten and left aside. because to condemn her meant to condemn themselves to the same death. the place of the irremediable and eternal absence of God. and there was no other judgement about them than a death sentence: they could not pronounce it against this woman. each of us. to stone the sinner. who are akin to us in mind. go in peace. And Christ Who knew the hearts of those who were before Him. not only the things that happen in time. because to pronounce it meant that they accepted it for themselves. Where are those who were condemning thee? Has no one done so? — No. but certain death. because I want to be with God. those words indeed could become the law of her life. we must pay particular attention to what Divine Love is. had betrayed their vocation. and could come back by a divine act that would resurrect her: yes. these words so simple and so direct brought to their consciousness the fact. when we are begged by others to forgive them — where do we stand? Are we aware that death is at work in us because of our God-lessness. the fact that we have chosen? This woman did not know what she was doing. but also with the victorious joy that God has send His Son into the world not to judge it but to save it! That salvation is at hand! That it is for us to take it — and it is given gratuitously. and all had deserted God. because at that moment. that. if He loves him to such an extent that His life is given. knew that this woman had gone through the gates of death. truly bring her back from an anticipated.the Old Testament who died in separation from God because only in Christ do we find our way back to Him. in her heart and mind. how should we look at one another and treat one another? If each of us is so meaningful to God. when we ask forgiveness from other people. our sinfulness. ‗Let those of you who are without sin cast the first stones‘ — and no-one dared. but sin no more!. in her soul. but all eternity had become darkness and death: if she only could return to temporary life. and that they could not condemn her. She knew that everything was over. to have time to live in a way that was worthy of God and of herself. the sinful men and women who were prepared to kill this woman for her sins while they did not realise their own sinfulness and that they were carrying death upon their shoulders because of them. so that no-one. On the day we remember the Cross.how should we treat our neighbour?! There are people whom we love in a natural way. share His thoughts.. and let us learn also from these men who came armed with stones. because now she knew in her body. renounced their dignity. Yes — no one of them was without sin. — she would do it! And this is what Christ saw in her. And He told her. His death is accepted . in so many ways . in emotion. and realised that they were locked in the same tragedy of sin and death with her. There was no other way than the descent into the sheol. to have time to repent. Are we aware of this when we refuse forgiveness? I am not speaking of the light-minded words of forgiveness which we pronounce so easily — but do we forgive from the depth of our heart? Can we say to God: Forgive as I forgive? Let us stay with this thought. we have Christ speaking to us. And she accepted forgiveness which meant life! Where do we stand. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross-4 October 1998 In the name of the Father. But if that is true. the Son and the Holy Ghost. when we come to confession.

between the sickness unto death of a person wounded by sin and possessed of evil. some compassion. ‗I will put My seal on thy forehead and no one will kill you.Nothing. in this congregation. the Son and the Holy Ghost. an extension of the Incarnation.and we forget that those who have received this same communion have become part of the body of Christ. Let us ask ourselves severe. beyond the people who try to be righteous before God. severe. 1977 In the Name of the Father. Let us devote a whole week perhaps to thinking of one person after the other and ask ourselves. here.attitude to life. then God would be responsible for all the evil of the world and we could condemn Him for all the suffering that is ours. just someone who attends the same church. pertinent questions about the way in which we treat our neighbour and we see our neighbour. a frightening freedom to man and that He is to guarantee the freedom and even its misuse – but not only that. .‘ And by doing this God recognises that He has given freedom. between an evil deed and a person. Christ says in the Gospel that our justice must be beyond the justice of Scribes and Pharisees. where do I stand before God? Amen. ‗Is there any love in me for this person?‘ Not a sentimental love. yes. And when we come to confession next week. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Mercy and Justice-9th October. and it seems to us so often from the experience we have of our earthly relationships that the gap between justice and mercy is almost unbridgeable. look at them and see in them the temples of the Holy Spirit. ‗What does this person mean to me?‖ . Oh. Such is not the way of God. . Today‘s gospel is about mercy. we must force our heart to be silent. that God Himself lives in them. even if he follows evil ways. and that we should turn to them. It seems that the two are in contradiction. to give my life for this person. if he is nothing to me. And how many there are whom we treat with indifference: we wish them no evil . ultimately. But the justice which we find in God is so different from the kind of justice which we try to apply. that the justice of God consists first of all – and this is perhaps the most frightening example Christ gives us – in recognizing for everybody the right to be himself even if he is in the wrong. who try to be spotless before Him. He takes upon Himself all the consequences of deliberate or foolish human choices. God knows how to distinguish. let us bring that. as God does. Did not one of the great writers of the past say that a judge is at the same time below the level of man and above the level of man: above – because he has a power which is superhuman to judge and to condemn. now and week after week. below – because it is not given him to have mercy. it does not mean that we can come to terms with evil. But there is one more thing God does. accept the ways of it. but the kind of love which in the light of God makes this person precious. If that was the case. for all the horror that has been in human history.they don‘t exist for us! Let us look around. some understanding. and a person whom God has willed and loved into the world and for whom He proved ready to live and to die. So often when we want to be just. some recognition to the existence of this person. among other things. and ask ourselves. who receives the same communion . to God: does my neibourgh exist for me? Who is he to me? To God he is everything. who believes in the same God. What is God‘s justice? We can see it in the Old Testament and the New Testament in a way which at times may frighten us. For us to observe justice is to pass a right judgement and then either to revoke it or to pardon but without being able within ourselves to reconcile compassion and severity.precious to the point that I should be prepared. but we must learn to distinguish. This is not asked day after day. Don't we always fall into the trap of being unjust when we try to be merciful and so hard when we try to observe mercy. And yet Holy Scripture teaches us that in God justice and mercy have met. but what is asked is that we should give some warmth. And the Lord says to him. One of the most frightening and striking examples of it can be found in the very beginning of human history when Cain murders his brother Abel and then feels that not only God‘s rejection but man's hatred will hunt him down.

the Son and the Holy Ghost.. how can we find . but it is not taken from the Scriptures. and therefore. and she turned to her interrogator ready to challenge. To recognize in another person even when this person is endangering our integrity. The distance between justice and mercy seems to be infinitely great in our lives. And here love. if we were true to ourselves. undistorted image of Christ. He smiled back. This is a great example.. she smiled at him. we have not done what a Christian is called to do. takes upon Himself the consequences of human evil and evil in the world. she would answer now with patience to a man and be gradually drawn to her tomb without hatred. she felt that she must break the spell even if she must suffer for it. And so it is not simply by doing things that this is achieved. nor from the lives of saints. The interrogation did not come to an end. to be. by willing to be the true. sacrificial love and justice as we do not either understand or exercise it meet in a way which can frighten. our life. and one night when she had been interrogated for hours and hours and felt that she could no longer endure it. which seems so often remote. but if our heart is not in what we do. to hate in him all that is destruction in him. because the commandments which Christ left us are not drilling orders. We must learn to discover what it means to love unto salvation and to be just with the crucified love of the living God. His justice consists in accepting the other one on his own terms but also in paying the cost of human folly and human evil. She had seen a man. and you will be a Christian". to hate in him the evil that possesses him. She underwent interrogations. is something which few achieve. we may fulfil all the commandments. you can judge yourselves by comparing not your deeds to the commandments. Can't we understand that the first act of justice which may lead us to stern action unto salvation of the evildoer. indeed to worship him. These are the things — He says — that should become natural to you. if we communed with God. but to serve him. which seem to be beyond us. the suffering. to serve him as we would serve our God. And suddenly she saw on the other side of the interrogation table a man pale. but make an end to this endless torment. the death. But where do we begin then? It is easy to be doers — how can we change our hearts. in other words. grey with tiredness. we may feel that we are right before God. Amen. And having seen him a human being. But she was now beyond the power of being destroyed. the Church. but by becoming the kind of person for whom these things are their true nature. Christ's incarnation. but very realistic reply is to say "Fulfil all the commandments. is first of all to recognize in him the right.He takes them upon Himself and carries the consequences upon His shoulders. without bitterness in an act of surrender. Time and again we ask ourselves what is the aim of the Christian life: what can we do to be true Christians? A simple. And yet. with anguish on his face because he was exhausted. the life. but he continued to interrogate her. but your heart to the inspiration that would make them natural. not an enemy but one whom the cruel circumstances of human history had put on one side of the table while she was on the other. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Protecting Veil of the Mother of God Sunday 14 October 1990 In the name of the Father. are different manners in which God covers. which He has left with us as our most precious and holy gift. And she suddenly saw him as a human being. to serve him unto salvation. When she was young she was taken to prison in the course of the Russian Revolution. the descent into hell of Christ. even if it meant punishment. to insult him. a human being whom we are called to take upon ourselves and carry and save. but from the life of a woman who is one of us. the dereliction upon the Cross. In the commandments He reveals to us what we should do if our heart were pure. I have mentioned to a certain number of you the story of a woman of this parish who is now coming step by step to her death. the incarnation of the Son of God. the Son of the Living God become the Son of Man.

. And these divisions destroy the unity which could be the place where God can act. in every thought. — it is the only way we can cast light. but in deed. in which we are told. our intelligence. we find it very difficult to understand one another. but a joy which a mother. but that they are prepared to be in agreement. it is not manifesting our intelligence. Again. to endure each other." If we have understood this. a grown up man or woman says. a youth. their . because if we were a true Christian community. as it were. making the concerns of one the concerns of all. spontaneously love everyone. So let us begin with simply being actively grateful to God.did not He say. but the faith He has in us. with exulting joy and love. considering the sins of each one as being our own responsibility and not only the responsibility of those who sin. of God's faith and hope does not consist in singing praises to Him. in our will and action. "Let my whole life be evidence to God that I have understood: understood that He believed in me and felt it was worth giving His own life for me. at that level we should say. how much help would every member of it receive in the struggle for integrity and life! So it is agreement. using the words of St John Chrysostom. not only the love of God. we find it very difficult to bear one another's burdens. their agony. because God does not reject any one of us. if we respond to the shortcomings. with that unbearable person whom we reject. make us shine with an inner light. indeed the evil there may be in someone by rejecting that person. what are the words that are so decisive in this prayer? I think it is not that two or three may agree from time to time. in heart. while this light is life. this light can help others to become new. We must reflect on this very attentively because we cannot naturally. that He hoped that I would respond. it consists in making all our life a hymn of gratitude. and not be kept.. if we only could think of our lives as a way of giving God a little joy — not the exulting joy of perfect victory. and now all my life I will strive to show my understanding". to the core of our being. What is it then. then we will have begun on our spiritual life. our hearts. And showing our understanding of God's love. a guide has when a child. not those who are whole"? He came to share with that very sinner. harmony in all things that is the precondition of the presence of God with power and grace. there are divisions among you". not of the righteous ones . at the price He paid for love of us. if we think that God has so loved us that. "I do understand.". that He gave his life that we may live free from evil. the Son and the Holy Ghost In a secret prayer read by the priest at the beginning of the Liturgy it says. that is in harmony in all things. when they have a common interest or the same feelings. that His light may shine freely. our first response? I think. share light with others. I have understood. our talents. with the very people with whom we are at variance. but their destiny. then what should be our first reaction. "Alas. "It is only the sick who need a physician. the power and the presence of God will be in their midst. how much support. the sins. — actively grateful: not emotionally. the grace. full of gratitude and of joy. He came to save us while we were still His enemies. this light is enlightenment. how our hearts. how gradually we become new people. may well be below those of others. that if two or three agree together in all things. we find ourselves separated from God. it is becoming so filled with what is God's.inspiration indeed to do it? It we think of God. so transparent to His light. unveil. let freely shine around us? It is not our own light. What is this light which we must reveal. "Let your light so shine before men that seeing this light they may give glory to the Father Who is in Heaven. because our talents. then our first step should be to build our life in such a way as to be a joy for God. He came to share not only our common humanity. we find it almost impossible to consider the sins of one or another person as our own. the hope He has placed upon us. our human warmth. a father. to use the words of Saint Paul. Already in his own time St Paul said. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Sermon 1988-03-06 In the name of the Father. God became one of us at the cost of His incarnation. in the darkness of our soul. And yet. so that seeing what we do. and He loved me unto life and unto death. There is a passage in the Gospel.

and that our lives will blossom. if necessary sacrificially.a Christian community. would like to rule them out of our life because it would be so easy to live only with those people who are no problem for us? By this rejection we become alien to God. this saving truth. sacrificially when necessary. Amen. Christians. Luke VIII Sermon 1979-10-28 In the Name of the Father. Let us reflect on this. or of anyone around us. joyfully. thoughtfully. heard it with our minds so as constantly to ask ourselves whether our words. How can we contemplate the vision of the Cross if we are not prepared to carry one another's burdens. the love on the cross. . but with living. says that the weight of the sin of the whole world was upon Him. But what fruit have we borne? We know God. but with our hearts and minds as well? Heard it with our hearts so as to be fired with love. Let us face this acute question with all seriousness. the disrupters and tramplers of faith if our lives in no way bear witness that the God of love has fired our souls with a new love. can we honestly say that we have heard this good. Twice in the Gospel passage that was read today. let us conquer everything in us that prevents us from being at one with God. we know that God is love. for an apostate is not only the person who denies the existence of God. the love that gave itself to complete destruction. in order to save us. a fullness of life such as the world cannot give. a heathen is not only the one who brushes aside Christ as his God and Saviour. Let us reflect on this. not with words. creatively. He will bring us life. Christ says ―he that hath ears to hear.‖ that is. and then through this unity with God let us accept one another even if it be at the cost of our lives. we do not believe. or are they a denial of our whole faith? Because if our love is not incarnate in our lives.struggles. but by our own free choice because we cannot accept those for whom Christ lived and died. whose love is prepared to go as far as crucifixion. then the words we pronounce about the God in Trinity who is love. we have met the Lord Jesus Christ and we have called ourselves by His name. pay attention. and answer boldly. that can only be learned of God. joyfully. our whole lives are an expression of love. because if we want to become what we are not . Let us ask ourselves about this. our actions. year out. Amen. not of this earth. not only with our ears. the universal value that gives meaning to life. and life with abundance. and love is the ultimate. to identify in sympathy and compassion with each other? How can we face the fact that God in His love gave His life for the lost while we reject those for whom He died.‖ and then ―take heed how you hear. then what Christ promised us will happen. We can be the heretics. Son and Holy Spirit. the Son and the Holy Ghost. ignore them. If we do not love each other attentively. inexhaustible love. ask yourselves the question how you listen to the word of God. we are only pretending. without defence. that He has taught us to love in a way that cannot be learned in the world. We hear the word of God read in church year in. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh St. unfathomable depth of love. But do we at all resemble the God in whom we believe? If we believe in love. a community of people who love one another earnestly. our faith is nothing but words. Before we sing the Creed we are invited to remember this: Let us love one another that with one mind we may acknowledge Father. What have we heard in this reading of the Gospels? We have met God and we have believed in Him. It is not in vain that Isaiah speaking prophetically of Christ. then we must learn a great deal about our attitude to each other. we read it ourselves day after day. not by any action of His. let him hear.

and he said to me ‗The moment I was freed. The first thing which Paul the Apostle. be our very nature. the Law should be within our hearts. He does not sin against it — He transcends it by being the Way. Christ also gives us commandments. for some inconceivable. we identify with the other person in thought. He discovered Christ as his God. His compassion and His love. 1990 (Galatians 11:16-20) In the Name of the Father. knowing that they are about to die. when we love someone. it prepared all of them to come to the threshold where they would take full responsibility for life. and yet it will only have brought us to the frontier of life. What does Paul mean when he says that he does not live himself anymore — that it is Christ Who lives in him? We all know something of it: when we revere someone. a way of becoming truly himself. because salvation does not consist of being righteous. But He is not a breaker of the Law. I remember a person who had come out of a concentration camp where danger of death and continuous suffering was his lot. And then. in a mature and responsible way. in will. but in entering into such communion with God that. to be worthy of being like the other person. humanly speaking reason. That is the way of the commands of Christ. he discovered Him as the teacher of life. that is. the mystery of freedom and of the Gospel. that the new life I was given was a gift. confess that you are still unworthy servants. a fallen guide is no longer enough. He has brought us the law of freedom. we are called to be sons and daughters of the Most-High. we are no longer slaves or hirelings. and I think it is worth giving some thought to it. And this is what he means. This is what he meant when in another place St. it was God's. are healed. the Truth. that all I had been had died out in the camp.Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Sermon preached on Sunday. There is only one way in which doing the will of God is a manner of communing with Him: it is the attitude of a son who so loves. every command. a vanguard of the Kingdom. in his ways — not that we ape the other person. into life which is before us. so reveres his Father that every word of His. Christ comes. act through me. and His ears. the Life which opens before us when we have reached the point when a guide. but they have another quality. who had been a law-abiding. within us. It happens also to people who come to the brink of death. Paul's own words. and I had to live in such a way that God should live in me. again to use St. We know what the teacher is in our ordinary experience. very strict disciple of the Synagogue. that I should be His eyes. Because it is not in the doing but in the becoming. a human guide. I realised that I was born again. Just being the doers of the Law may make us righteous in the sense that we will have done all that was commanded. that lies the mystery of salvation. every example is for him a road to maturity. and beyond them all those who entered under the Law. who teaches us step by step until we are mature enough to do without him and able to enter. people whom He sends to bring a message of liberation. the Son and the Holy Ghost. Paul says that the Law is like a teacher. by disciplining the people of Israel. some forget it. in heart. . the Law of the Old Testament. it is someone who takes us when we are small. But neither of these conditions makes us close to our Master. and was not mine. by becoming more than he is at any given moment. One of the ancient writers of Christendom says that there are three ways of being obedient to God: one can obey His will for fear of punishment. of eternal life that begins already on earth in those who discover Who Christ really is. and who become His messengers on earth. He Himself says that when you will have fulfilled all that I have told — recognise. 'I have done all that Thou commandest‘. We know it also at times from examples in our life and in the life of others. Such was the Law of the Old Testament. This is what Paul means when he says that Christ in a sense does way with the commandments. every bit of advice. To-day's Epistle is not clear in every respect. 28th October. one may be a slave or a hireling. underlines is that simply doing the things which the Law commands does not save us. His truth‘. one can obey Him because one hopes for a reward. but we try to emulate him. being able to say before God.

whole-heartedly. being the presence of the living Christ incarnate through us. deep relationship with the Father. . that we die for everything which is not worthy of our divine vocation. over each of us was read the passage of the Epistle that said that in Him we die.but some realise that if they are alive now. and in answer to the truth. and His own did not recognise Him. But in Him love did not falter. and pre-eminently by Communion in the Holy Mysteries. the whole fullness of the Godhead dwelt among us physically. and only hearing words . Let us reflect again and again on this confusing passage of the Epistle to the Galatians. being the lodging place of the Holy Spirit. this is precisely what we seek. it may be. Let us reflect on this. how many times people went past Him not seeing God in Him. but He freely gave it up. What does this mean? When we come to Holy Communion we ask and we dream that eternal life. And we often forget that on earth Christ's victory was concealed. when we partake of the Holy Mysteries. And so. but which we are so rarely prepared to give to others. unfold itself in us. And when we shall seek not only heaven. to the breath of the Holy Spirit. to destroy. He came to His own. by reason of our love towards Christ. We too are called to do the same thing by partaking of the Holy Mysteries. our God‘. And in answer to love. with its light. and in answer to the fact that in boundless love God had wished to dwell amidst His people and share all with them. take ourselves in hand. and therefore a judgement on each man and on the world. feeble though. we say to Christ. being children of the heavenly Father in the most literal and unconditional sense. and that this new life must be lived on new terms. He gave up His life. Living in the church. Yes. Each of us should have realised this long ago. to make our life one with Christ. Usually we think of it as though we were saying. His Temple. in an act of will and faith that is of surrender and faithfulness. people thought they were taking it away. He preached love. 'Let us commend ourselves. within the limits of our faith. and people ran away from this love in terror. Through living the whole life of the church. being the body of Christ in the midst of the world. Each of His words was both life and temptation. and put our whole selves into the hands of God. 'I don't want to live my life — I want to live Yours! I do not want to live according to my own standards — I want to live according to Yours!‘ This is what Paul perceived when he first met Christ and discovered that the One he was out to persecute. it is not the continuation of their life of the past — it is a new life which is given them. let us abandon ourselves to Him counting on Him to save us from all adversity' — this is not what it means. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh On Holy Communion In the Name of the Father. when we wish to live the life of the church. and if we do not belong where our Christian vocation calls us to be — let us make a decision. Amen. fill us. it means that generously. was in reality the Son of God become the Son of man. on terms on which the previous one could not. and its solemn victory should be actualised in us. unconquerable purity. and now. and to that eternal. 'Let us look to Him for safety. or would not be lived. we should be prepared to share the fate of the Saviour on earth. but how hidden it was! How much grief of body and soul Christ as a man lived through. we intend to live the life of Christ so that Christ's life should pervade us. by an act of will that transcends our very will to do good and our proclivity towards evil. because love demanded the rejection of self. it is not by the power of their natural life. courageously. because we all repeat constantly in our litanies. by our communion with the church. His presence and a revelation of Him. and one another. we should remember that we are asking for communion to the whole life of Christ and to His mysterious. But together with this. we seek participation in the common life with Christ the Saviour. and in Him we rise again. the Son and the Holy Ghost. of our faithfulness and courage. because we all were baptised into Christ.for them frighteningly incomprehensible and unacceptable. to see where we belong. let us put our lives in His care. Christ was rejected. its joy. that we should be. about such love as we wish for ourselves. and all our life to Christ.

begged. as though they were a nation that did righteousness. we are. when we are as far away from Him as we can imagine. if we could only truly share with Him His whole life beginning with the cross. If we so long for communion with Christ that we are prepared to share His cross on earth. whether on His right or His left. our personal sorrows. You shall indeed be baptised with the baptism wherewith I am baptised. Wherefore have we fasted. and Thou takest no knowledge? Behold. Is it such a fast that I have chosen. but is that the fast which God wishes us to keep? Listen to what the Lord said to the Hebrews. He told them. with Him. the troubles of life. the distance which measures His absence from our life. from the lips of Isaiah the Prophet [Isaiah 58:3-8]: "Cry aloud.." And then the Saviour said these words to them which He still repeats to us when we share the cup of life with Him. and the glory of thy Lord shall be thy rearguard. to let the oppressed go free. and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast I have chosen to loose the bands of wickedness.. to acquire the mind of Christ on earth. and thy righteousness shall go before thee. and forsook not the ordinance of their God. indeed. the Son and the Holy Ghost. whether he likes us or not. whether far or near? And should we not then be able to entrust ourselves with complete confidence in the love of the Lord? Amen. many will turn to fasting. and show My people their transgressions .not just what we call our cross. should we not then understand that it is too soon to begin to think about where we shall sit. to undo the heavy burdens. then on earth we shall already have shared in His sonhood and in the victory of love. He said: "Are you ready to drink of the cup which I shall drink.but His cross which means suffering with all who suffer. eating those things which are appointed by the Church. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh Sermon on Fasting 25th November. lift up thy voice like a trumpet. May the Lord give us courage. it is the one who needs us. are you prepared to be plunged into that horror into which I shall be plunged?" And they answered. On November 28th is the beginning of fasting time that prepares us for Christmas. and delight to know My ways. and again. our illnesses. you fast for strife and debate and to smite with the fist of wickedness! You shall not fast as you do this day." . In today's Gospel (St. Yet they seek Me daily. Luke 10:25-37) we hear the Lord saying to each of us that our neighbour is not the one whom we like. may He make us understand that Christ called us to live upon earth as He lived. . say they. 1990 In the Name of the Father. "Yes. turns to each of us at the moment when we are at rock bottom. When His disciples asked. to break every yoke! Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked." If our love is real. if we have learned from Him how to love. "You shall indeed drink of the cup which I shall drink... and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast. and it is to him that we must turn in compassion.. And then our Communion with Him must be full. in charity. spare not. because only God can measure the distance that separates us from our being in Him. and thine health shall spring forth speedily. with each and all who are perishing in sin: only then will the Saviour's prayer be fulfilled that His joy should be fully realised in us. not even the one whom we love. and when like Him we shall be ready to carry the cross together with Him .joy and protection. much farther. that thou cover him? and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning. and Thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul. a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush. He did not come to suffer torment for our sake in order that we might live according to our own senseless sinful will. But we must begin with this. if we love Him. but to judge who shall sit on my right hand and on my left is not given to Me but to the Father. to make your voice heard on high. in the day of your fast you find pleasure and exploit all your labourers! Behold. prayed that He should grant them to sit on His right hand and on His left hand in the Kingdom of Heaven. as indeed the Lord God Himself turned to us at the moment when the whole of mankind was alien to Him. but a fully common life and full communion with Him.

To love means to prefer all that is dear to the beloved person. when we refuse to forgive. and I said. take this short event in the life of Christ and the parable as a rule. that also counts! . made us into people beyond compare. not fast with false piety. he who does not love his brother is a liar when he says that he loves his God . of the mercy of the heart! Are we going to meet the Lord who came to save sinners by rejecting those whom we consider as sinners. contains everything which is the way of the Christian. and ask ourselves whether we could stand side by side with Him when others come to be judged. therefore. The first commandment is that we should love our God with all our heart. Amen. when we reject our neighbour. He Who is the Eternal One. who reject. and redress our lives. forgetting ourselves. 'You have not begun to be a Christian. with all our strength. not only of shelter . or if he is someone to whom you can pay attention when you are in the right mood. if he is only someone in your way. Very often we think that we are worthy Christians if we feel that we have in our hearts a warmth. And here comes the second commandment. Today's Gospel in short. The test of this love is to share God's own love for every one of our neighbours. if he is a passer-by.indeed. to our mutual friendship and closeness. people who are prepared to live and to die for those who hate. those against whom we have fought? Can we meet the Lord on such terms? Let us think of the shepherds: they were simple people. against her. 'Lord! I have forgiven . when my father asked me: what was the dream of my life? I was young then. who ignore. But there is a criterion which is objective. and therefore. they could hear and receive the news as the most wonderful thing that changed everything in their lives. But this is not enough.has it come to us as good news that has transformed our lives. We have been listening to the good news day-in. pure of heart. and indeed be such that He could rejoice in what we are. those who have offended us.' And he looked sadly at me and said. Are we going to meet the day when the Lord our God took flesh in order to enter into the realm of death. We will never be able to know how much we love God. Let us therefore enter into this period of fasting in earnest. 'To be with God alone. when we turn away from him or her who is in need of our mercy . they were clean. I remember a sad moment in my own life. To love God means that we should live. a moment may come when selfishness. because it is so easy to delude oneself. with all our being. the day when He chose to enter into the realm of suffering for our sakes . . then we have not begun to love God and to love the world together with Him.Thou hast no grudge against him.Let us remember these words. who offend us? If we are not . How do you treat your neighbour? What does he mean to you? If he means nothing. ask ourselves pertinent questions. stand in judgement before God to be judged by Him.it is in vain that we speak of being Christian. but fast by turning away from every evil. to what is dear to us. It is difficult.not only of bread. they could hear the news of the Incarnation.these are the Apostle's words. from all evil. Let us therefore think of it. that there should be nothing alien to Him in our lives. which the lawyer did not understand: that we should love our neighbour as ourselves. unsophisticated. the Son and the Holy Ghost. at least for a time. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh THE PARABLE OF THE MERCIFUL SAMARITAN LUKE 10: 25-37 Sermon given on 30th November 1997 In the Name of the Father. Let us. year after year . that we love God. but their hearts were open to the extent to which it was possible to them.are we going to meet this day by accepting to continue in our estrangement from Him? And we are estranged from Him when we hate our neighbour. indifference. uncomplicated.' Because if we love God we must share with Him all His concerns for the whole world and for each person in this world. put right in our lives everything that has gone wrong. and our neighbour as ourselves. because more than ever in our time we must not fast hypocritically. and step forward and say. To love again our neighbour. a quarrel may make an end. with all our mind.but in need of forgiveness. any more!' Amen. day-out. Even when we say that we love someone.

The sacrifice opens the door to it. And to enter into the Holy of Holies means first and foremost to enter into that depth of adoration. endowed with vision. and it stands for a moment when. She chose all that and went into that depth of obedience. It is the heart of the mystery of Israel. enlarged on. 1972 Since early days the Church has given to the Mother of God titles of holiness greater than those which are given to any saint. serve God as their Lord. By what I say I do not mean to say that it did or did not happen. The sacrifice somehow remains this side of it. which makes one stand face to face with the living God. The Feast of the Presentation of the Mother of God to the Temple quite obviously raises historical problems. From a purely historical point of view it is unlikely that it could have happened. On the icons you can see young girls with candles bringing her to the temples. From afar . who took Her into the place to which he had no access himself. greater than the angels of God who are. Because the ones as the others see. and unclean also in the eyes of men because their sickness could be transmitted to others: others could become impure. Now I don't think there is any advantage in discussing the possible historicity of an event of that kind. having reached the maturity of a young child. Tradition has it that she was brought by Joachim and Anna. greater than the angels of God who. the perfect revelation of what the whole creation is called to be and to become. and yet somehow they remain farther from Him than She. be ready to respond and to obey. the Son and the Holy Ghost. as it were. It is the place where men in the Old Testament can meet God to the extent to which God can be met. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh SERMON ON GRATITUDE 17 December 1989 In the name of the Father. But what matters as far as She is concerned is obviously this aspect of the thing much more than the historicity of the event as described in icons or in folkloric tradition. who is the Bride. who in Her exceeding holiness has become the kin of God. apart from historical features. ten men who were ritually unclean and therefore. in a sermon on prayer written in the 19th century by Theophane the Recluse. But what matters is what it stands for. contemplate and adore. serve. as their Master. can see. of listening. What the feast stands for primarily is described. of attention to what was God's will. She was handed over to the high priest. worship. in the divine presence in complete surrender. Ten lepers came to the Lord. to touch Him as had done the woman who had an issue of blood and who had been healed. in complete adoration. unable to come near the habitations of men. We know that in Israel no one was allowed into the Holy of Holies. that the High Priest entered it only once a year after having undergone purification by sacrificial blood. We venerate Her as One who is greater and holier than the Cherubim and the Seraphim. is extolled by the Church because it indicates to us where She stands in the whole of Her life. the throne of the Most High. They came to Christ and stood afar off because they knew that they had no right to come near. It is also the point which somehow is beyond the point of the sacrificed. The Holy of Holies. others could be sick unto death. is the heart of hearts of human worship. Panagia. has become the Mother of the Incarnate Word. unable to attend the common worship of the Temple. but the maturity of one who can already worship. into that depth of prayer which makes one present to the living God.Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh FEASTS OF THE MOTHER OF GOD 7 November. The presentation of the Mother of God. ritually rejected by their community. lend an ear. he says. She is called the All-holy.

they don't know what they are doing! This applies to us also. the poor in spirit are those who in their heart and mind.and Christ Himself asks the question . We did not come into being of our own volition. He has revealed Himself to us in so many ways. but a reject. capable of knowing Him! And again. The first Beatitude speaks to us in that respect very clearly: Blessed are the poor in spirit. of His Resurrection. look up to the throne of God . know that they possess nothing which is not a gift. day out. a right to everything which the earth and human relationships can give. Saint John Chrysostom says. in their whole self. because all of us do feel that we have a right: a right to human concern. and the Gospel tells us that this man was a Samaritan. And to achieve this Christ has given us His life.why is it that nine of them never thought of returning? Because they felt that now that they were clean they were restored to the wholeness of the people of Israel.. for theirs is the Kingdom of God. We receive it as our due. when we receive a gift we are superficially grateful. when it is a miracle of divine and human love? When we think that we deserve something and receive it. God believes in us. and the Lord healed them. Isn't it true that gratitude springs up in our hearts more powerfully. and his heart was filled with gratitude. His death. And therefore. God brought us into being. He came back and thanked the Lord. discovering on his way that he was healed. and deserve nothing of what gratuitously is given to us. Is not this a marvel.you will see Man enthroned at the right hand of glory! Is not that enough for us to be grateful. we can all become by communion to Christ the sons and daughters of the Living God. and nine never came back. He says to us: I love you! Without you. a right for God's care and love for us. One of them.. He loved us into existence. Ten of them went. they had everything.we are alive.Who are the poor in spirit? It is not those who are simply poor. By doing this. I have faith in you that you will not betray my trust.. made whole without having any right to this love of God and this act of Christ. and not by command. the world which I have created would be incomplete in my eyes. The Samaritan knew that he had been cleansed. let go of every other concern but his gratitude to Him that had restored him to wholeness. and we are grateful to those who were instrumental in conveying to us what 'naturally' we had a right to have. Does this not apply to us? Indeed. but also. He brought us into being by an act of love. My love will never falter. poverty does not call out the great virtues simply by itself. But the Samaritan knew he had no right to the mercy of God. His teaching. a wonder? And we exist only because of this faith of God in us. and the manifestation of our human glory by His sitting at the right hand of God. to be grateful before any other particular gift is bestowed: . If you want to know how great man is. ultimately. either to God or to those who have been merciful to us. I put my hope in all the good there is in you. we receive it as our due. because of this hope and love He has vested in us. the forgiveness He gave to those who crucified Him: Forgive them.respond to them! The wonder is that however little we believe in God.off they cried for mercy. to human love. Let us reflect one moment on this. a man who had no rights within the people of Israel. a man who was not only a stranger. but it does not transform our relationship. My faith and hope in you will remain unshaken . He sent them to the priests in order to be ritually cleansed. and how great we are in His eyes. and indeed how great we are potentially in our humanity.. but ultimately in the Incarnation: God Himself has become man for us to see how much we are loved. they needed nothing more. day in. healed.. alive with the breath of God that makes us akin to Him. Father. we say a perfunctory 'thank you'. it does! Indeed it does so sadly. no right to this miracle of healing. all the time. by an act of power. a man who was outside of the Hebrew community. And if we think further we have not only existence . partakers of the Divine nature. Why is it . so did the nine Jews. more gloriously when what we receive is undeserved.

the shining. and I possess all things. all the dreams: man called to be united to God as God united Himself to men in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. but to make it possible for us to participate in this mystery of communion between God and man. the security of life. that He does not believe in us in vain. This is our attitude. Amen. and beyond the walls of this church to all those who can hear our service and pray with us. rich with all the love and power and richness of God.and he was given it! And his gratitude was aflame. but knowing that it is an act of gratuitous generosity. that His love has been received. why should we be grateful that we are given what is our right? Why shouldn't God give us all that is His obligation to give. he had no right to share anything that was the right of Israel . the joy of knowing that He has not created us in vain. came with all the wisdom of the earth. We are called to proclaim to the whole earth this good news that God is one of us. and how we would live in order that God should look at us. of our lives ..how grateful we would be. not only dimly felt. Here is a disciple of Mine who has understood. even in the tragedies of life. we are not poor in spirit . He has brought us a word about God which is a word of absolute truth. but in action! Saint Paul says. comes because God has sent us into the world as His messengers to bring divine presence at a cost. air. out of the joy of being loved. that we are truly disciples who have understood and who want to live His Gospel. that we have no rights and yet we possess all things. in body. I wish now to address myself to those of you who do not speak Russian. the resplendence of God on earth. God proclaiming the truth. called in his perfection and fulfilment. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh CHRISTMAS-1983 In the name of the Father. in an unadulterated manner because it is God speaking. that He has not put His trust in us in vain. and has proclaimed the greatness of man in terms that are greater than all the imagination.how generously. in the words of St Ireneus of Lyon. and say. is now incarnate. In a night similar to this one. and be at one with us. Man. how joyfully we would give to everyone around us in an act of love which would be our sharing in the love of God. not lived and died for us in vain.the love of our closest. The wise men who came to the manger. aglow! Can we not learn something from him? And also. if necessary. to proclaim to us God's truth about Himself and God's truth about men. Let us reflect. and not only proclaim it. and there is no adjustment which can be acceptable to the Gospel. all the knowledge that . Saint Paul said that: I have nothing. Each of us could be such a rich person in our utter poverty. out of our communion with God. And if we realised that all we have. a winter night. in soul. we don't formulate it so crudely. in circumstances of life. and let us give God. in an act of gratitude not only spoken. food. health! But we all take this for granted. But we must proclaim the Gospel in its integrity. is that our attitude? If we are truly grateful for the gifts which are ours . but lived in every action of our life: let us give Him joy. but we live by it! The Samaritan did not. can we not realise how wonderful it would be if out of gratitude we lived in such a way as to give God joy. It is a greater joy to give than to receive. not only in emotion. which man had in the course of centuries. let us learn to live out of gratitude.. and who lives accordingly! Let us reflect on this. and that we are the sons and daughters of our eternal Father. the Son and the Holy Ghost. in a manger was born the Son of God Who has come into the world to bring us a new dimension of life.we take it as our due. to be the glory. and the certainty that He has not created us in vain. each of us. and of other people that care.

and all things visible. our ways fall under the divine judgment . for Whose sake he lives and preaches and warns us. but they could recognise in the Babe of Bethleem the incarnated Son of God and worship Him as their King and their God because they were prepared to allow divine wisdom to supersede all wisdom of the earth. what he lived for. The world that had been for thousands of years like the lost sheep was now the sheep found. the Son and the Holy Ghost. the world was no longer the same. Metropolitan Anthony Sourozh A WEEK AFTER CHRISTMAS 13 JANUARY 1985 In the Name of the Father. God had entered into history.. He sends us into this world to proclaim His truth. Glory be to our Lord. And dreams of men came true: God became man. and My thoughts are not your thoughts. and wisdom of God. The unbridgeable gap that sin had created between God and man was now at least incipiently bridged. unstained. what he stands for.. He was a persecutor. murdered by his own people. In imagination we think ourselves 2000 years back. And we must have the determination to open ourselves to the wisdom of God. My ways are so much above yours as My thoughts are greater than yours. God Himself had become man. to our Saviour for ever and ever. the kingdom of God. love crucified and love risen. of that love which Christ has revealed into us. He says: To die is not to divest myself of temporary life but to cloth myself with eternity. love to the end. to our God. The shepherds came because the ir hearts were open. anything they could dream of. and the world has become different. Our thoughts. what he teaches. And he calls us in the face of our longing for eternity to accept to live as long as it is necessary. it is also simplicity and singleness of heart that can both see God. He sends us into this world to live in such a way that anyone meeting a Christian. looking into his eyes. a poor thing compared to the greatness of the mind. My ways are not your ways. God had become man. an unbeliever. because nothing can deprive us of eternal life and the loss of temporal life is of no account to St Paul.was then possessed. And death has no terrors for us. danger. pure. our feelings. beatings. and to be Christ's only as he puts it means that all life is nothing but Christ. What wonder should fill us: a week. We must learn from St Paul both the daring and the wholeness. into us not to subtract or add anything to God's own message about man and about God. the integrity of our Christian ways. And He calls us to be a vanguard of His Kingdom. and heart. Whom he has persecuted on earth. He says to us: Be follower of me as I am of Christ. We must each of us and all of us be a revelation to the world of things eternal. for Whose name. Amen. But it is not only wisdom. but God in Christ had spoken words of truth that was decisive. recognise Him and follow Him with infinite daring. It is not in vain that saint Paul has said that compared to wisdom Divine human wisdom is nothing but folly. God had taken flesh. that gradually like yeast dropped into dough was to change the . could in His body recognise itself in glory. there is another aspect to the Incarnation.. Persecution. the risen Christ. because they were prepared to understand that there are things greater than anything they can imagine. Moreover. what we perceive in our blindness as dead. into his life or meeting a Christian community should recognise that these people are men and women partaking already of the mystery of eternal life.. rejection became his lot in orfer for him to be Christ's only. taken upon His shoulders by the Son of God become the Son of man. which is the kingdom of love. He longs to be reunited with Christ. be prepared to judge all things of the earth from the point of view of the living God. as tragically as necessary for others to discover life eternal. and for Whom. and having met Christ face to face. — says the Lord. Something absolutely new had occurred. Who he knew had been killed on Calvary. he chose for Him and all his life was changed. what he died for. inert matter. Short of this we betray our calling.

"I no longer call you servants. Has not Christ said to His disciples. that is what the Incarnation brought into the world. The world has become incipiently new by the union of God with man. we are no slaves and no hirelings. possesses from God a name. by the recognition of beauty in each other." He speaks of the way in which God treats each of us. giving. but it will conquer only if we undertake to be its heralds and the doers of these commandments of justice and of love. and the modern world." Again. Each of us. Christ said that "the light shines in the darkness. is and will remain forever evidence that man is so vast. God knows only living men and women. He has taught us also about a love which the ancient world did not know. tells us the Book of Revelation. but itself. and may the blessing of the Lord be upon you by His grace and love towards mankind always. The prodigal son was asking his father to receive him as a hireling now that he was unworthy of being called a son. to look at every person with that kind of justice. that is. and this has remained in the world. ―become partaker of the divine nature‖. When Christ says to us. Venerate this beauty. it knew of slaves and owners. but seeing in each person the beauty which God has impressed upon it and which we call "the image of God in man". which is the only power that can help others to start anew. but the father did not accept it. I have told you everything.not only within our Christian circle but in the whole world. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh EVE OF EPIPHANY-18 January 1985 In the name of the Father. unique. as St. And that is what God calls us to remember.world. for this beauty to become reality and to conquer. that it is not collective units that matter. What a wonder! The ancient world knew of nations and races. "let your justice be beyond that of the scribes and pharisees. That is what the Gospel. He accepts each of us as we are. like the old one." but it cannot put it out either. God had revealed to us the greatness of man. but can unite himself with God. And then a new justice was introduced. another justice. He accepts good and evil. when the Word became flesh. it is for us to be a revelation of this newness. the proclamation in Christ and by Him is that what matters supremely is every person. not judging and condemning. however unworthy we may become of it. if we accept God's vision of the world and bring to it our faith. but to start anew they must see newness in us. and lo. God will never re-establish with us a relationship which is less than that of His fatherhood and our condition of sons and daughters of the Most High. because God does not accept our debasement. helpless. but a name which no one can know but God and he who receives it. and He dies because of and for the sake of what is evil. each of us is unique for Him. it knew of categories of people. a love that gives not only what it possesses. a love that gives without counting. exactly in the same way in which the modern world that is gradually becoming not only secular but pagan. and how He calls us to be and to behave . . And this light shines and shall shine. the resplendence and shining of God in the darkness or the dusk of this world. unrepeatable. distinguishes categories and types and groups. a name which will be revealed to us at the end of time. Amen. that he can not only contain the divine presence as a temple. so deep. now and forever and world without end. work for this beauty to shine in all glory. the father stopped him before he could even pronounce those words. and the darkness cannot comprehend it. sacrificial. And again that man is great. and that however far we fall away from our vocation. dispelling what is evil and dark and making it possible. not the distributive and retributive justice of the law. or rather proclaimed by Him. Peter puts it in his Epistle. because a servant does not know the will of his master. May God grant us courage and love and greatness of heart to be His messengers and His witnesses. When the son made his confession. so mysteriously deep. but each of us. of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. is so afraid of: A love that accepted to be vulnerable.. our certainty and our hope. that He lives and dies for every one of us. Christ becoming man was evidence. He rejoices in the good. because this name is our relationship to God.

love is always ultimately vulnerable. it cannot be destroyed but it can become monstrous as in the legend of Centaur. in the Incarnation only a beginning is made to our salvation. and. became what the legend of so many nations call. in the Nativity of Christ in Bethlehem. And then. of heroic surrender the task which Love Divine has laid upon Him. in brotherly love. And Christ will die of it because it is the only way He could free. And Christ comes. in a search of a oneness deeper than all visible unity we meet here. the more fulfilled. the more given and vulnerable it is. and He is baptized. Saint John Chrysostom in one of his Homilies says that Christmas is like a dawn. of a return to God. And on his dying moment the Centaur sends to Hercules his tunic asking him to wear it in memory of his victory. comes out of these waters carrying upon Himself all the sin that has been washed in these waters. Amen. vulnerable unto death and unto torment. it is the humanity of the Word Incarnate that takes upon itself. And he tears it away together with his flesh and his life. everything which is evil. the Son of God become the Son of Man in Bethlehem. and He. he kills with an arrow the Centaur. Why? Because in the Incarnation. We are Christ's own people. in an act of perfect freedom. But also. those whose names are written in Christ's genealogy. the salvation of the world created by the Word is not a one-sided act of God. and lay down our lives. as Hercules put on the tunic soaked with the blood of the beast-man. Let us follow into footsteps of our Master. the millions whose names are unknown to us. to free ourselves by faith and obedience. The Incarnation would have been as impossible without the humble assent of the Virgin Mother as it would have been without the positive will of the Father. ancient intuition had already perceived something of this mystery in the story of Hercules which is mentioned by one or another of the spiritual writers of old. an intuition of genius of what happened in Christ? Yes. and these waters became heavy with human sin. in His humanity all the consequences of human sin. the Virgin Mother Who has offered Herself and Her Son to be God's own Son. and the many. washed their sins in the waters of Jordan. gives Him to us. the killing waters of sin. He immerses Himself in these waters of death. in the course of our short-lived existence. He comes out of them wearing on His body. and comes out. He comes to Jordan free of sin. give ourselves unto life and unto death for the salvation of every person. traitorously. by love and ascetical endeavor of everything which is not worthy of God. not Himself but mankind of its sin. God seizes upon the humanity which is offered Him by the faith of the Virgin Mother. of unreserved obedience. of everything to which God cannot unite Himself. as a parable. what Christ has been: love divine incarnate. unite ourselves with God in Christ by the power of the Spirit. He merges Himself. love is always defenseless. in the birth of Christ. but who are all known to their Lord and their God. of every nation and of the world. and human. but Epiphany which for us means the baptism of Christ is like a full light of day. pure of stain. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh FIRST CELEBRATION OF ALL SAINTS OF THE BRITISH ISLES Sunday 9 JULY 1978 . On the day of the Baptism Christ has reached the fullness of His human maturity. Isn't this an adequate image. from centaurs become truly human beings. Divine Love is incarnate in Bethlehem. Year after year.In the name of our congregation here I wish to greet the members of the Christian Council of Kensington and of Westminster. Hercules stands for the hero who saves. This is what this feast of Epiphany tells us. of entire faith. But in the Incarnation. and the more perfect the love. the dead. and the humanity of Christ there receives passively the gift of this union with God as the result of the perfect faith of the Mother. which is the culminating point of all the faith of those who ever longed for the coming of their Saviour and believed in it. The salvation of mankind. immerses Himself in these waters of death as one would immerse white wool into a dye. and offer if necessary our death for the salvation of all who need it. polluted by sin in an act of repentance and of faith. God takes hold of a frailty of a child. Why? A Western Presbyterian minister of France told me once that he sees it in the following way: the people came to John the Baptist soiled. many. because the image of God cannot be washed but it can be profaned. And when Hercules puts it on it clings to his body and burns him like fire. the creature which is both beast and man вЂ‖ an image of what sin makes of us: beasts and men at the same time. our vocation on earth is to be in history. Ancient thought. helpless because it is totally and freely given. Love is always given. And our vocation is to struggle within us against everything which is sin. and now. the more defenseless. And we meet here in the light of our salvation in Christ.

many names have fallen into oblivion. because having lost our Country and all we loved we had a tendency to be (engrained) in our Russian life. until a few weeks later. and in our small community we began to pray to her. and our hearts to something which we had overlooked. to celebrate in the language of the country. the tenderness of His compassion. their faithfulness. later we created a parish in her name. there was no name she could attach to the vision. but all are remembered and all are in our midst. going to a small place not far from Paris. Later we wrote about it to one of the greatest men of the Russian Church. of their love not only by words. and after him so many martyrs and witnesses. the country we loved. We began then to pay attention to the saints of the West and. available to those who had lost it and yet . we know that beyond a thousand years of separation we meat the memory. and it is their faith. its resplendence before God. This opened. the patron saint of Paris together with Saint Denis. their message that has made it possible for us to belong to the Body of Christ.From the first day of its existence the Church has reverenced. and the saints who were the glory of Russia. to Patriarch Sergius at the time when he was still 'Locum tenens' of the Seat of Moscow and. he encouraged. The woman awoke. the same plenitude of oneness. he called us to recreate. she spoke of it. found a gate and was confronted with the same statue. we are strangers in no land because the oneness of the Church hundreds of years ago unbroken make us the kin of those who are their resplendence and their glory. and when. to the steadiness. the shining of His love. to call back into life the Orthodoxy of the West. the names and the presence of those Saints of Orthodoxy who are and. and all those who have lived and shone. Some of these saints are known. were its glory. and where their memory is kept with veneration. And she brought the news. to make Orthodoxy alive and. I say that she called us to pay her veneration. walked further and was confronted with the statue of a woman. or simply in a limited district where they have shone. us. In one of our poorest and smallest communities in Paris a woman saw a dream that she was somewhere in the thikets near a wood. not in a part of the world that was strange and alien to us but in a part of the world which for nearly a thousand years had shared with us the same faith. and who have testified to their faithfulness. I am using the words advisely. the people who were our kin. either in one country or another. we come to our own people. of those people who have been heralds of the love of God. One of the first Saints of the West that called for the reverence of the Russian Orthodox emigrees in Western Europe was Ste Genevieve of Paris. Stephen. the purity of His message have been remembered with deep gratitude. The first martyr. thousands and thousands of men and women have shared our faith. she recognised the place of her dream. who share my faith pay me no honour.. both spiritual and material. and this is something which is so wonderful and for which we are so deeply grateful. to enter onto that path which they have followed so gloriously. and by their whole death. And now we suddenly became aware that we had come into the West. the same joy of belonging together with all the Christian world. remembering only our Russian ancestry. to remember her together with the many Orthodox Saints of the West. he called us to translate the services. We are no strangers in this land. who was holding in her hands a book and a sheaf of wheat. she entered it. but by their whole life. our minds. but she had no answer. and this was the beginning of French Orthodoxy. she found a gate. the prayers. but this time an inscription revealed to her it was Sainte Genevieve. and this woman looked at her in sorrow and said: How is it that the people of my city. some are venerated locally. Some of these Saints are known throughout the world. the thicket. and loved and sung the praises of its saints. and been on earth the resplendence of God. in all countries now this awareness has grown and when we come to a country of the Western world. of all Russia. called Sainte Genevieve des Bois. that she was impelled to look at what there was within it.

St. offering of self. a Church whose mark will be love. those people on whose prayers we can count. help. which our heart longs for. and build on the foundation of the Saints. who are at one with us. It is a different weakness. we have began a tradition which will not die. 1983 In the name of the Father. But what does it mean that we should support. to be God's own children. But this weakness is not cowardice. Amen. And this we have done in all the countries in which Russian Orthodoxy has bean brought by the tragedy of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent years. on the foundation of the faith once delivered to them. but in so many ways. let us never forget the loving wisdom of Patriarch Sergius. Christ was confronted with the blind man. for the first time we have celebrated here. how frail and how weak we are? Don't we feel that. Today. which our mind understands to be the best. we have kept now the Sunday of All the Saints of the British Isles. Paul calls all Christians to be the strength and the support of those who are weak. readiness to die that others may live. Are we to be called strong as contrasted with anyone else? Don't we realise. tender and true. examples for us to follow in our lives. Paul. We are surrounded by people who are blind — not physically. full of joy. open. people who need to acquire a vision and sight which would allow them to grow to . to be as completely and perfectly God's children as the Only-begotten Son of God was the Son of God. whatever desire we have to be God's own people. He gave him sight. timidity. but once adopted. lovingly. been standing. challenged our faithfulness in the person of Sainte Genevieve of Paris. And St. after the Sunday of All the Saints of Russia. and yet which our will is incapable of bringing into operation. after the Sunday of All Saints appointed of old to be kept after Pentecost. Let us never forget this oneness of the Church of God. unbeknown to the world. the holiest. laziness: everything that could be called inertia and that prevents us from doing those things which we believe to be right. 12:9). we have no strength and no power to achieve our human and our Christian vocation? And at this point we must remember another saying of St. uphold those who are weak? Perhaps we can find the beginning of an answer in today's Gospel (Matthew 9:27-35). having understood what that meant. Because we are all called to be the sons and the daughters of the Most High. And now. Let us remember faithfully. by adoption. he too felt that he was weak. because then all will be an act of God. rather the awareness that we cannot achieve the greatness to which we are called unless God helps us.longed for its plenitude. and he prayed the Lord to give him strength. Paul says to each of us and to all the Christian community: You who are strong support those who are weak. 14th August. exclaims: So I shall glory in nothing but my weakness. Paul. sloth. let us not forget the way in which the Saints of the West have addressed themselves to us. the Son and the Holy Ghost. because our generations are growing thin. indeed. The Lord answered him and said: My strength makes itself manifest in weakness (2 Cor. that he did not possess all the strength he needed to fulfil his apostolate. and those who wore children are now among the old who came out to Russia. who called us to be like seed sown in the West which is bound. to die. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh “We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak…”-Sunday. that is celebrated as a consequence of a decision of the Council of I9I7-I9I8 at the moment when the revolution was breaking all that had. Christ being the cornerstone. In his Epistle to the Romans (15:1-7) St. each of us. This must make us ponder. we have resurrected the memory of all those who are our brothers in the Faith.

Sunday after Sunday. there is a short story about Christ crossing the sea of Galilee together with His disciples. At this point. we are in need. but in order to see God. cry. Only God can fill them. the mind and the heart of man can perceive God. all human beings in the world. but in indignation: Do You not care that we are perishing? Christ awoke. not in a prayer. with the greatness of God." And indeed we can help others only if we ourselves struggle and strive to be great with the purity that allows us to set God. and the hunger is too great for the things of this created world to satisfy. What are the things to which we can open the eyes of others? First of all. read time and again. He sees the eternal beauty which He has implanted in each of us. and He stood up. but loved into existence by God. And so it is also with the man who was deprived of speech. God seems to be asleep. of the Only-begotten Son become the Son of men. but with the strength of God. the purity of his life. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Healing of two possessed in Gergesene-8 July 1990 In the Name of the Father. Amen. the words of Christ ―Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God‖? So we must call every person around us to venerate. And as the Gospel puts it. His creatures. everyone can turn to us and say "Physician. that He is like Christ. but with another happiness. wail in our agony… . In one of the Gospels. to do. How many. how important they are to God. the Son and the Holy Ghost.the full measure of their stature and to be truly happy. Paul calls us to do in today's Epistle: we will have supported those who are frail and weak. make people around us see how great they are. and we suspect that He does not care. then perfectly transparent. And the apostles cried out. at our words others may achieve what we are too slack or too weak. before the passage which was read today about the healing of two possessed in the country of Gergesene. and this is the message of every person to us: reverence. because even if we ourselves are not truly capable of being what we should be. There are many other things which we may discover which are forms of blindness in us and in others. we turn to God. because all things are possible in the Spirit of God that upholds us. This is what so few realise — that they are infinitely precious. have we not heard.and there is silence. to reverence his own purity and to fight for the purity of his mind. Not in the superficial sense of enjoying the good things of life that leave us all hungry and full of longing. that there is in them this hunger. Isn't that what happens so often to us? We feel that we are in danger. This is what each of us. with the infinity of God. and said: 'O men of little faith!‘ Then He turned to the storm and commanded it to be still. not with our strength. the purity of his heart. so that becoming gradually less opaque. mean to God. fulfil this beauty. love." This is our message to every person. we must help others to discern them. become great! And then we will have done what St. Christ was peacefully asleep with His head on a pillow. Whenever we discover them. we claim His attention. sleeping peacefully with His head on a cushion. how many are speechless before the greatness of God and the beauty of their own selves? There is no way of discovering who and what God is unless we discover holiness and beauty in us. Also. heal thyself. and looked at them sadly. Each of us means so much to God that He gave His Only-begotten Son for our salvation: all His Life. we want things to be the way we choose . while we. His Passion and His Death. then translucent. In the course of their journey a storm broke out. A Russian preacher said once "When God looks at us He does not see the virtues or the achievements which are not there. Each of us was not only willed.

oh Lord!' . if we respond to it. find in them what I have not seen. 'Leave my boat. ‗Go. I am a sinner. Amen. in need . the whole Gospel is made of words that can give us life eternal.but we don't want this! We want what we had: an orderly life.but how differently! Who are we: Peter. He transforms the dead orderliness of our life into a chaos. let us all. He heals the possessed men. ‗No. 'Say a word . and said. without problems. the words of life eternal were words that awoke eternal life within those who heard. in which God and man stand together? Do we not realise that in the power of Christ Who sustains us we can face the storm. what is the response of the people? They are in terror because they have seen the power of God manifested in such a way that fills them with fear.I am unworthy‘. Is that the way we respond to the Gospel? Let us think of Peter. nor absent: He acts. there. and no understanding to see in it the ways of God? Yes. there is no need for you to come. Last weak we read the story of the centurion to whom Christ said. He is neither idle. Have we ever spoken such words? Have we ever felt that we are unworthy of Christ's coming. And they ask Christ to be gone: Leave our realm. I am not worthy. Christ has never spoken of life eternal. we need only our faith? This is the first image. there are storms around us and within us.have we got faith to say. matters nothing. but a chaos which is pregnant with possibilities . or do we turn to God and say. But then. the Lord said to Isaiah: ‗My ways are not your ways. being our familiar. and what happens. not even as a grain of mustard? Is it that we have no faith. from our life within this strange community which we call the Church. Christ is speaking: why isn't that we. I trust you. without anything great happening.and my servant will be healed‘. ‗I will come to your house and heal the servant‘. and beyond our strengths. as My thoughts are higher than yours. go away!. ‗No .. 'You . and many of His disciples left. And he said. in the spirit and strength of Christ live according to His words. his awe because he had seen the act of God. Christ comes to the land of the possessed. Let us listen .. that He has healed. being with us. we are not on the sea. The fact that Christ has acted. And Christ had said long before that if you have faith as much as a grain of mustard . and in our lives. ‗Leave me . read the passages. it's enough for you to say a word . . as My thoughts are not your thoughts! My ways are so much higher than yours.. And then comes another image in today's reading. His servants. You remember the passage when Christ has spoken incomprehensible words to those who surrounded Him. Christ need not come. dwelling under our roof. and suddenly we discover that God is not coming in the way in which we want Him to be! He is not coming into our lives simply to order things according to our view. 'Are you also going to leave Me?‘ . how often has He said the word: the whole Gospel is Christ's word addressed to us.beyond what I have said. not with awe. 'In the power of Christ that sustains me I can face my own agony.Isn't there anything that we can learn? Yes. think of them.. what matters. that He has saved the men. who had ears. is that they have to pay the cost for it: their pigs. there is not even a physical storm. Lord. Is it that we have no faith.you could move mountains. and let us think of these people who have also seen the act of God. never given descriptions of it. or the Gadarines? And again: when we are in agony. doing for us all we need? Indeed being for us like a servant who will do things because we need them done. Earlier. Both said. nor passive. we are not in a boat. good will to hear. according to our understanding.save me! I am not ready to endure this agony‘. Peter said.and Peter said. Having seen the miraculous catching of fish on the sea of Galilee. someone else had said to Christ.no courage to face the storm.where should we go? You have the words of life eternal'. and He turned to the twelve. Isn't it again something which we happen to do? We ask God to come into our lives. and we turn to God because we want Him to solve our problem. on another occasion.‘ Haven't we learned anything from the Gospel. Let us reflect on it all. we don't need a miracle. are not healed? Because we don't want to listen..and everything will be right‘. and therefore have neither courage nor understanding . also without anything tragic happening. because every word of God is salvation for us if we listen to it. or the storm‘.