The essence of hesychasm is in finding maximal silence. Not external, but internal silence. When a person keeps aloof from his or her personal concerns at most. Monks are not idlers, they work hard, but they do it according to their obedience, without making any plans. They do not invent their obediences, but receive the tasks. That is why, in a way, they are free. Their spiritual guide and abbess think for them. They do not make plans for their future, but live for the day. They try to hold back their emotions and longings. They do not even demand from God, “Give me the spiritual state I want to have here and now.” No, they… 

humbly count their beads, reciting the Jesus prayer and wait for God, Who will come to them Himself. They do not ask for anything, but say, “Lord, let me only look at You and address You, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”” They do not hasten their spiritual success and do not even make plans for their spiritual life, not to mention their short-term earthly life. They take everything with humility and patience, and find their only joy in belonging to God and saying to the Savior, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” and work. Meanwhile, God gives them at a time and to such an extent, which He considers necessary. 



In the Holy Gospel Our Lord reproves the Pharisees and the Old Testament people in general. We can underline these words “Old Testament people” pointing to their rottenness and falling to pieces. God compares them to whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. (Mt. 23:27). And, by contrast, the new people, the new Israel, the New Testament reverse the situation. Starting with the first Christians, misunderstood by the rest of people, who came to the tombs of their first martyrs and saints, we don’t consider tombs as the place of rot and filth, but venerate them as the source of particular Grace of God. It used to be centuries ago, and it is so now. 

What is the difference between the relics of righteous people and the corps of corrupting Old Testament people who’d remained in that state until now? The tombs of sinners are filled with decay and cadaveric poison. While the tombs of the righteous fulfilled with the Grace. This is the essence of their nature. They accumulated the Grace of God during their whole lives. As per St. Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, a Christian’s purpose of life is incessant attainment of the Glory of God. Holy Father Seraphim gives a very simple example: seek something that brings you more Glory, shape your life order according to it and draw it, draw it! He means “draw” the Glory and fill your body with it, so that it stopped being the residence of sins and demons and became the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit. Like a vessel that keeps filling with the Grace of God. The saints did not just fill the vessels of their bodies and souls with it, they overfilled them and the Grace flowed out to the world. That is the miracle and the mystery of holy relics. 

Why am I saying these weird words? I say it without looking over my shoulder and seeking for somebody’s opinion or approval. I say it as I know who mother Silouana is. We all know. The contemporaries of St. Symeon the New Theologian were confused by his veneration of his spiritual father St. Symeon the Devout as it was a veneration before canonization, rather solemn and special. He even paid his price for that. But he knew who he was talking about as he had been near him.  

During all those years we were near mother Silouana. That is why we know whom we bury today. Some people got in touch with her in their every day life. Relatives knew her as a mom, granny, family member. While we know her from a different angle. We know her as a saint. And we are not afraid of declaring this fact, we are not ashamed of speaking the truth aloud.  

Holy Father Seraphim had not been canonized for a long time. And, even if according to the Church canons the worshipers couldn’t sing: “Pray God for us!” and sang: “God, rest the soul of your servant Seraphim” instead, even in those times they got the Grace in abundance from him.  As he used to say: “Don’t worry, come to my little tomb and address me as a living one”. 

I do not perceive this situation as a usual death. Due to this is not a usual death. Mother Silouana was not a usual person. She was special, rather special. On the one hand, we, being only humans after all, say: it is a pity to let you go, mother, it is sad we will never talk to you, embrace you. On the other hand, trusting our spiritual state we realize that she may do much more for us now.  As she is close to God. S. We will keep knocking at her door like we used to and ask: “Mother, please, pray for us”. We didn’t just come and knock, we knew that we would ask and it would work. Let us come to her the same way! Glory to Our Lord! 

You know, when mother Silouana passed away right after the vigil on the day of commemoration of her saint Silouan the Athonite, I pronounced the following bold words: a new saint is born in our monastery. She may appear the sole saint. But I feel it this way. 

Lord, help us!

A death may turn to sorrow, disappointment, even a break down. At the same time it can be perceived in an oppositely different way…

About the feat in Christianity

It takes courage to give one’s life. But Christianity values more than just courage. Agree that non-Christian religions and even atheists have also known such a feat. One can give one’s life for an idea, for people. You can give your life inspired by the idea of hatred of the enemy, superiority over him, feeling his wrongness, his nothingness. But there is a salt to this feat in Christianity that no other religion has. It is not just to give one’s life, but to do so without becoming embittered, even with sympathy for the enemy. And if this is the most extreme feat, the lesser feat is to give of one’s strength, attention, means, inspiration to something. But it is possible, in giving, to admire oneself, to observe oneself from the sidelines, to exalt oneself over those who are unable to give. And this feat the Lord does not kiss, this feat is like a sakura tree that blooms beautifully, but does not smell or bear fruit. Everything that is not in Christ can sound, fly by very beautifully, solemnly, enthusiastically, but give no fruit. And it is only the feat in Christ that is special to this main attribute – without hatred of the enemy. This is how Christ died and said: Lord, forgive them, they do not know what they do, they are madmen. In the same way and with the same words, the first martyr Archdeacon Stephen died. And there were many martyrs – on the one hand, martyrs for Christ, and on the other, just martyrs who blossomed like cherry blossoms and flew away – they were distinguished only by their lack of hatred for the enemy.

Recently a very young unbeaten and unsophisticated man said to me that if we had remained pagans like Prince Svyatoslav, we would have been strong, conquering the whole world. I replied, “We have been Christians for a thousand years, weak as you think, and for a thousand years no one has been able to conquer us. For a while they bent us, humiliated us, then we stood up. What is our strength? That there is no hatred in us. Men know that when your opponent starts to get nervous, turns on you, it means he’s already losing. And if you stay peaceful, calm, then you’re still going to win.

Some may say that atheists already fought in the war. But the leaven was still pre-revolutionary, almost everyone still had a cross, “Alive in Help” (Psalm 90) was in his pocket. In the worst years of persecution of the Church, ’37-’39, this state, which was literally destroying the Church, on the eve of the war conducts a census of the population, in which it deliberately puts a column “religion”. And most of the Russian people in these circumstances writes: Orthodox. That is why the war was not won by atheists, there was the leaven of their mothers, fathers and grandfathers, which can not be simply eradicated in ten years. They poisoned us for seventy years, and only for the millennium of Baptism of Russia churches were opened, and immediately we opened our eyes again, we began to breathe and build temples, receive Holy Communion and confess. It was in us, at the genetic level. After all, we were Orthodox for a thousand years, you can’t eradicate that so quickly. Christian gratitude is a very good quality. We will be grateful to our grandfathers, grandmothers, those who fought for us and gave their lives.

Archpriest Sergiy BARANOV
May 9, 2021

Monasticism is a great joy

Speech on the day of another monastic tonsure

“…All the sisters came to me at one time to be near me, to be instructed, to be inspired, and so to improve themselves. Sometimes I heard from some sisters the alarm: “Father, if suddenly we are separated, if suddenly you are not there for some circumstances, we are anxious, how should we be then?” Mark my word now: It’s not scary at all, but it’s scary if you yourself leave me. No one can separate, and not even death can separate. You can be in my spirit, in my outlook, even if we are far away, even if circumstances separate us. That’s not a big deal at all. You can always be there for me. The scary thing is if today you came to the monasticism, made me throw, told me to be faithful, and after a while, after one thought, a second, a third, you begin to leave – that’s when you will be separated from me. I may be at arm’s length, eye to eye, but you will not be with me – that’s what’s scary.

Everyone very often says in monasticism about obedience: obey, obey… It is impossible to obey if you do not hear, or if you do not want to hear. You can’t obey, believe me. We already have a small, but our own experience. Yes, our monastery is young, only ten years old, but we have our own little experience, and from that experience I tell you: it will not work. I was just reading a prayer, and there were the words: work, pray, abstain, be patient, and at the end the most key word: HOLY. That is the goal of monasticism. Whoever understands all these things in monasticism, but whoever drops this last key word HOLY, he gets some terrible monasticism – a monasticism of some laws, rituals, rules. But in his monasticism, if there is no joy – joy in his relationship with Christ, joy in his relationship with his confessor, joy in his relationship with his sisters – it is not monasticism, it is ugly. If you lose joy just a little bit – this is a reference point for you, that you start to do something wrong, somewhere you allow yourself slyness, somewhere you allow yourself to understate things, you lose joy. AND MONASTICISM IS JOY.

…God give you spiritual joy, that you may have prayer. Prayer is possible only in a heart that is not troubled by thoughts. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God… The sight of God is already heaven. This is the kingdom of heaven. Just looking at God is already heaven.

You want to be led. At some point, take your hand away, say: “That’s it, I’ll go on by myself.” Well, come on, I’ll wait for you later … with bumps, with broken knees … ”


Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

July 4, 2022



On Mount Athos I visited a hermitage where there is a grave of St. Elder Joseph the Hesychast, the place where he died. And the fathers told me a very moving story. Once there lived a father whose disciples were constantly leaving him. He barely found a disciple, lived with him for some time and very soon the disciple left. They were confused by his smoking, in addition, his temper must have been bad. The father was not young and getting weaker, so he prayed: “Most Holy Theotokos! Please, send me anyone, let him be lame, cock-eyed, disabled, may he just cook some food for me”. He had prayed at night, and in the morning he climbed down to the berth.  A boat moored to the shore and the father saw a young man land, he was lame and cock-eyed. This father still lives, though he is an old man already. He had no skills in anything, but people still call him for panigiri – patronal festive days – as he is an extremely good cook, and is able to treat everyone. You see, Our Holy Theotokos listens and wants to help even such a monk who lost his disciples, something wrong was with him, but even his prayer was heard, as it was sincere.  And She sent him that lame and cock-eyed novice. 

Do you remember the moment when Our Lord drives a legion of demons out of a demon-possessed man? “So the demons begged Him, saying, «If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine”. (Lk. 8:31) And God meets even the prayer of demons.  Who is worse than demons? He could have said: “No, I won’t even listen to you”. For another thing, what is the point of it? The main thing is that nothing changed for the demons. God meets their request, they go away into the herd of swine, madden it and “run violently down the steep place into the sea, and perish in the water”. (Mt. 8:32) In other words, God is ready to meet the requests of every one of us, but this is not enough. We also should bring some diligence and sincerity. Love conquers all things. “Love suffers long and is kind” (1Cor.13:4) – the Holy Gospel says. How should one suffer? Love will suffer it all. Seek this basis. No philosophy, idea or profit will help you overcome suffering, as love does. You may admit, where do we, who are egoistic, cold, proud and selfish get love? But even a strong desire for love, a grief for love, a breath taken for love is the step made in the direction of love. This is a tiny winy love. I was holding the liturgy tonight and looked at Konstantin out of the corner of my eye. And thought: “I don’t know this man at all, but I already love him so much” (hugs father Konstantin). And then I looked at the other side and saw another father Konstantin. My dear! I know him a little bit longer, but still not enough. And it doesn’t matter, as a true love loves someone for nothing.  Why am I looking at him? I don’t know. He might be a hypocrite. Oh, no! While my heart suggests: “No, he is good”. You can’t deceive a heart. You may play games with somebody, but won’t deceive the heart. The heart says: “I love you!” 

Father Sergiy is presented with the icon of Saint John of Shanghai. 

– You know, I came to San-Francisco and venerated his relics. Then I visited his orphanage, sat in his armchair. And I remember one thing: at night we drove from the Cathedral to the Church of St. Metrophanes, bishop of Voronezh. And one of the children, whom St. John brought over from China to the Philippines, and then to the US, San-Francisco, was among us. This child, who was an old man already, told us a very moving story: You know, whenever you meet anyone of the children saved by the Archbishop, every one of them would say: “He loved me most of all.” In fact, that would be true as St. John had such a big heart, that he loved everyone equally and everyone perceived and received his love in full from his heart.  

May the Lord save you! He is an amazing saint. It feels so good when you stand by his relics. He remains incorrupt. Beard, hair. Only his body darkened a little bit due to the time he had lain in the grave. But it is absolutely imperishable. Those people who witnessed his act of faith used to say: “Even for the Orthodox Christians, who read the Lives of Saints every day and know many wonderful stories, his life seems extraordinary.” The act of ascesis was on the second place for him, but the act of love was on the first one. 



I presume there are no such people who go to church insincerely: out of self-interest or for a show. All people go to church sincerely, nevertheless, we can’t change, though we want it badly, it ends in no result. It seems to us that God should help our genuine desire and we should achieve something, but we are constantly going around in circles. We cannot overcome our weaker selves and often become desperate and cry, “O Lord, how long shall I bear this? I’m not my own master. What happened to me?” Above all, we need to understand one crucial issue in Christianity, which often cannot be perceived by church-goers. When we come to desperation and cry in tears, “O Lord, why is it not working?” Our Lord gives us the answer: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26).  As long as we try to get rid of our sins on our own, we will run around in circles. We will do it eagerly, sincerely, all in tears, but with no result, until we come to realize that with men it is impossible. Stop trying to do it on yourselves. You will not succeed, no one will. Only with God all things are possible. What does it mean?  It means we need to put aside our individual “I” and trust everything to God. You can’t pray, can you? Let God pray in you. You can’t deal with your inner vices such as envy, jealousy, anger, judgment of people, can you? No, you can’t. Then, who can? God can. He is not envy, He is not angry, He is not irritation, He is Love.  Let God have your heart which through your “I” has got used to be envious, jealous, angry – let God have it, and let His personality – Love act through it. At this point, some people may wonder, “Do I have to give up my own personality then and stop being myself?” In fact, this is the way your personality manifests itself giving way to God: My Lord, let You act, let You think, let You feel in me in a good way. It is a pity to see some Christians going to church for years without understanding how Christ should act through them. St. Apostle Paul pointed out precisely: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). On the one hand, it sounds weird, but on the other, for those who lived that way, it is natural.  I let Christ have my thoughts and feelings. When everything goes through Him, through His great pureness, everything becomes true, humble, righteous, good and simple. O Lord, I can’t do it, please, You act in me. And so that You were in me I keep saying in my heart, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ”. He should be there. There is a beautiful story about St. Ignatius the God-bearer, after he was tortured and his heart cut up, people saw letters “Jesus Christ” on it, such a great impact it had on him. 

On Athos they have a tradition of taking already clean bones of fathers three years after their death and putting them carefully into an ossuary. At Karoulia the monks showed me the jaw of a Russian father, which bore an even sign of a cross on its inner part. Yes, it must be a coincidence, but a very pleasant one. His mouth, within 50 or 60 years, through all the time he lived on Athos, must have been pronouncing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Jesus Christ.”

Our physiology and psychosomatics are also related to spiritual life, so that spiritual influences bodily life. When we look at each other, we always see some undertone. While we look in the eyes of a saint, we raise no questions, don’t we? It’s all very simple and clear. 

Glory to Our Lord! Not to us, shame on us, but Glory to God! And, grabbing at Him, we will climb out. Do not try to do it on your own, it’s in vain, even though you set your heart on it. Our “I” put as a “number 1” ruins it all. Our “I” should only be behind God. 

Christ works wonders! Christ loves you! Christ is purity! Christ is the truth! Christ is a great simplicity, He is perfection! Take Him away from us and there will be no us. Dirt, clay. When God created us, He took clay, sculptured a lifeless dummy and breathed the Spirit in it. Should He not breathe, we would have stayed clay. He takes the Spirit and we turn into clay again.




St. John the Baptist had come before Theophany, the day on which Christ manifested Himself to the world, and the key message of his sermon was the following: “Repent!” When Crist came, He repeated the same: “Repent!” How correctly and deeply do we understand this word?  After all, if we don’t get the point of it, our acts will be wrong and fruitless. What is the essence of the word “repent”? Does it mean that we should admit, be sorry and cry over our sins? Everything I’ve mentioned Judas also had. Did he see his sin? Yes, he did. Was he sorry about it? Yes, he was. Did he cry over it? Yes, he did. Nevertheless, nothing changed him. Repentance comprises all those things. But something is missing.  Something that Judas missed, but St. Peter had? Admit your sin, repent sincerely, feel sorry about and even cry over it, and then put up with it  and accept yourself (as you are). Can proud people see their imperfection? Yes, they can. Can they admit it? Yes, they can. Can they cry over it? Yes, they can. But repentance hurts proud people, their heart burns. They can’t admit it and bear the ugly, shameful, horrible truth about themselves. They are tortured by severest pain so much that it is easier for them to commit suicide, like Judas, rather then keep bearing this horrible truth about themselves. While humility relieves from that pain.  

The beginning of repentance is to see, admit and cry. But repentance must be finished: you need to put up with yourself, accepting the horrible truth about being worthless, dirty and shameless.  Who can encompass it, then? I was brought low, and He saved me. [Ps, 114:5] The grace of God can help. Please, do not confuse, I don’t mean that you should understand humility as an agreement to sin. No, I don’t agree with the sin, I only agree that I’m rotten and stop fighting myself. I stop proving to myself and the others that I’m not like that.  The fighting is stopped and the pain is relieved. I put up with it, I accepted it, yes, that’s the way I am. At that moment peace comes. And after humility comes healing grace. Above all, it soothes a desperate heart with hope that nothing is lost and it is still possible to amend everything, even for you. After that, in place of pain here comes silence, peace, goodness and joy. When Our Lord says: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” [Mt. 10:34], he means the burden of his words on the sinners. These words are hard to bear and accept without humility. God awards the humble ones with His grace.  Some people all their lives long may say that is the way they are. There are rascals who keep saying: “I am what I am, and I won’t change”. This is not what we call repentance.




-Should lawlessness really not provoke any feelings?


-Where does any lawlessness start from? From the absence of peace. We say, “Why should I have any peace of soul, if lawlessness is all around me?”. Because lawlessness developed from the absence of peace. To stop lawlessness, we need to return to peace. To personal peace, for a start, and then in the family, in town, in the country. But it all begins with your personal peace. If you see lawlessness and get irritated, you double the lawlessness. That lawlessness birthed lawlessness in you, outward lawlessness gave birth to your inward one. And you got angry, and an angry person is also capable of lawlessness. A peaceful and calm person isn’t capable of it, but an angry person is.


Why inward lawlessness should not provoke anger in you? If you see someone else’s lawlessness, look into your own memory and surely you’ll find the same situation in you life. If you see somebody lying, – rummage in yourself and you’ll say: “I also had the same thing” – and you’ll be silent. You see someone betraying someone, you want to tear them to pieces, wait, don’t hurry, sort yourself out, and you’ll find not just one betrayal in yourself, but thousands. Remember that case with the adulteress that was brought to Christ? Should we stone her? And Christ was writing in the sand with his finger and said, The one who is without sin should cast the first stone at her (John 8:7). They stood there, then the one left, then another… Because their conscience was denouncing  them. Each one of them had even the sin of adultery. Even if it’s not outward, it was inward: adulterous thoughts, adulterous feelings.





Sermon after the Sunday Liturgy 7.11.2021

Time is getting on, feel it. It doesn’t depend on the short period left for us. On the whole, in relation to eternity there will always be little time, as time can not be stopped, it is getting less day by day. No matter how long we have left to live, we will be critically short of time, because we don’t have the sense of time and that is why we can’t come to realize what time is. If we did not just feel time, but lived keeping in mind the every-second loss of time, we would have been constantly saying: “no time, no time”. We are always leaving something till tomorrow, till the day after tomorrow, because we don’t have the sense of time. Essentially, this space of time is our prison. One day we will get out of it to the timeless space, to the place of eternity where God is. But as long as we are still under the rule of time, we will be in this prison. It pressures us every moment before crushing us in the end. All of us should go through this state. It’s another matter that someone lives a mad life, but still remains in the general stream of time. While spiritual people live with the sense of time. And, in the end we will all be crushed by this time.    

You see, Our Holy Theotokos, more honorable than the cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim, lived inside the time too. She was joyful with the birth of Her Divine Son, she was happy to see Him grow up, grow to maturity. But She always lived in the Spirit, otherwise She won’t be able to give birth to God. For the Spirit everything is possible, He enlightens the mind by Divine Revelation, that is why She knew from the beginning Whom and why She gave birth to, what was going to be in the time to come. And so, She kept going to that critical terminal point where time clenched Her heart, there on Golgotha. 

It is not enough to read about the Saint Spirit. We, Christians, should be in the Spirit, our mind should be enlightened with Him. We should always keep in mind that time will crush us in the end. This sense of time, the feeling of constant time shortening should make us sober, we should define priorities. All things pass, all things go to pieces, and the main thing comes. Every one of us should go through this terminal point of oppression as Our Lord Himself passed through it and gave us the example. Meanwhile, we keep on living like immortals. 

In today’s Gospel the rich man lived like an immortal. And it is not the point whether being rich is a sin or not. Some poor people sin more due to being poor because of their idleness. One shouldn’t judge in these terms. The main issue is not the richness of that man, it is the fact that he made his richness the only purpose of his life, and forgot about the main thing.  Some time ago, the money slipped through his fingers and he found himself poorer than Lazarus. 

These days we often hear about death. And sometimes I want to scream: people, wake up, call to your minds that you are not immortal, reevaluate your lives. Run to church, go there more frequently, not more rarely for fear of contracting an illness. Confess, take Communion every week. By the facts of life Our Lord reminds us that tomorrow may never come. I often compare people without the sense of time to those who come to a minefield.  They spread a fancy white cloth, put their hampers on it, and take out cheeses, sandwiches. While bombs explode next to them and parts of human bodies, blood and dirt shatter all the way around them. Meanwhile, they wipe themselves and go on in their insanity:”Let us put the fruit in this vase. Did we take forks?” A mad picture. 

Sometimes I hear the news – during the ten years of the war in Afghanistan we lost less people than we lose now per week. Blood flows like water, death all around us, and we behave like madmen, we are occupied with anything, but the issues of eternity.  Think, tomorrow will never happen for somebody. For a non-believer the sense of time is a burden, people don’t want to hear about it, as if in that way they will stop to be under the rule of time. At the same time, for those who believe, it is sanity of mind and thus, sanity of life, which will not stop at the terminal point of strain and death.  And beyond that point opens the space of eternity, fulfilled with the Spirit, Who brings joy and optimism. Life without God is hard, it can break you down. Go to God. Run to church more often, observe the praying rule at home, don’t put it off till another day.



In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit!

I congratulate you with the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

The Lord comes to earth, gathers his disciples, establishes them in faith and not only unites people, but also unites them in one Spirit. Then He leaves them for the three terrible days after His death on the cross. These terrifying days appear to be such a shock and pain for them, that they feel as if the ground dropped away under their feet. However, in three days He appears before them and stays for 40 days with them in order to affirm them again after those horrifying days of His crucifixion and funeral. 

Then, all of a sudden, He ascends into the Heavens. It would seem, He has already made His sacrifice, everyone has overcome these dreadful days and reunited at last, and no one would like to separate, but the Lord leaves them again. But He leaves relatively. You know, this resembles a situation when a parent releases a hand of a tired child and walks forward, keeping a little distance, so that the child has to catch up.  It may seem to the child that he or she is so tired and ready to give up. While the parent keeps walking farther and farther ahead; and this is not about only a parent, but about parental safety and parental love. And the child stands up, wipes his or her tears and follows the parent again.  

The Lord acts so wisely… He did not come to be a king here on earth and make the lives of those poor and sincere people comfortable. He came in order to drag them there, upwards, with Him. If He would hold them by the hand all the time, they would have never been safe, they would have been relaxed and used to having this hand and receiving everything at once. In this case, the Lord as if stimulates their spiritual dynamics, making a distance between them. And they have to stand up and drag themselves to the place where their Parent is. They even see His back, that is why they are afraid of losing His sight beyond the horizon. 

Very often in our spiritual life, it seems to us that the Lord has left us. He has not; He has just walked a little further, in order to stimulate our fear of losing Him. So that this concern mobilized us again and made us wipe our tears and smear the snot, drag ourselves after Him and hallow, “I have stood up, I have stood up, I am running! Wait for me, please! I am going after You!” 

It is no good being led by the hand all the time, this will make you relaxed. So, the Lord, as a wise Parent, makes this distance sometimes. We remember the warmth of His hand, the love in His eyes and His closeness to us. Then, all of a sudden, He steps aside. This memory makes us stand up, wipe ourselves and run forward after Him again.  

Have a joyous Feast!

Glory to our God always, now, and unto the ages of ages!




Abraham was righteous and he walked with God. Isaak and Jacob were righteous and walked with God. One of the reasons why people are righteous is when they are ready to spend all their time with God. No matter if they go, sit, lay or sleep. This is a spiritual state of righteous spiritual people. And they acquired righteousness walking with God, because they lived every moment of their lives as if they were at the Last Judgment.  Everything was revealed to them every moment, and not only the visible things, but, as Our Lord is the reader of the human heart, they showed their entire inner world to Him. Please, get used to this as well. If we live by God, we need to keep this thought in our minds, we need to walk with God. And not just walk with Him, but have our soul wide open before Him. Since nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest. I guess, everyone has experienced that in his or her life. In the end, all the secrets will be revealed no matter how good you are at hiding them. The cat will always be let out of the bag somehow.  

I was in Saint Petersburg, three thousand kilometers away, but I felt sick at heart when you misbehaved, I feel it all the same, everything will come out. If it is not revealed through the Holy Spirit, it will come out through people instead. Nothing can be hidden. Why is it safe to walk with God? Because God gives us directions every moment: do it this way, it is safe, and do not do that at any cost. Just look at the insanity of our first parents Adam and Eve. God told them, “Please, do not eat, you will die” – such strong and horrible words. But they did not believe Him. Satan said: “Eat, you will not die” – and they believed him. They did not trust God Who is the origin of everything good, Who is Goodness Himself, Who is their Heavenly Father.  Though, they absolutely believed that nullity. And what was the result of it? As usual. There is a hymn sung before Lent: “Adam sat opposite Eden and cried over his nakedness.” His progeny keep crying, his children keep killing each other… 

Nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest. And if we consciously do evil, as a natural result, we will reap the fruits of it. Sow the wind and to reap the whirlwind. Afterwards we even take offense at God: “O Lord, why do I have such a destiny?” You made it yourself. Please, remember, that all of your feelings, thoughts, even a part of your thought, even something you have not noticed yet, everything is known to God. So, please, walk with God, and you will be safe.



Today, on Sunday of the Holy Myrrh Bearers, we recollect the events related to the women who were near Christ during His lifetime and even after His death, they could not leave Him.  After the burial of Christ, His disciples were both full of sorrow and fear, because they remained simple people. The Holy Spirit had not descended on them yet and had not made them “gods”, with no initial capital, according to God’s grace, as the Lord says, “You are gods” (Ps. 81:6). Human wise, we may understand St. Peter the Apostle, who said, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Lk. 22:33) and betrayed Him right away. Every person happens to fear. That is why I repeat, they did not only come through a big sorrow, but they also felt a great fear of the dreadful persecutions, which actually happened soon. When He was near, holding them by the hand, they felt secure. Then, His Fatherly hand was not there, and they simply felt as if the ground dropped away under their feet.

Fighting down their terror, at night – and it is even scarier at night – the women, not the men, not the Apostles, went to the Sepulcher. They did not even know who would roll back the stone from the door for them. They went knowing that the Sepulcher was sealed and guarded, and that the disciples were persecuted. Nevertheless, some force made them go, in the middle of the night, fighting down their terror. The strongest power on earth is the power of love. Nothing can be stronger. Whether it be duty, a sense of responsibility, the fear of punishment, nor even the fear of death. People, who are spurred on by love do not even fight their terror, they simply forget about it. What makes a cat jump furiously at a huge dog while protecting her kitten? What makes her mad? Love does. 

Those Myrrh Bearers went at night fighting down their terror and shiver, guided by the power of love to the One, Who was buried there, behind that stone. They had not read the Holy Gospel yet and they did not know what would happen next, that He would resurrect to His great glory. They were still simple women who saw only the burial of a dead man.

In order to have such a big power of love, one needs to fall in love. Meanwhile, in order to fall in love, something should happen in the relationship. They were not captured by His words or by His teaching, as some other people could also speak wisely and beautifully. First of all, Christ did not bring the word, but He brought Himself in that word, in the way people listened to Him and felt the Spirit of Him, the Spirit of Love, the Divine Spirit. These days, the Holy Gospel has been examined through and through, learned and resolved into quotations, but at the same time, it may remain dead and moving no one. We may stand on the ambon and say a rhetorically strong and structured sermon, but it may lack the Spirit and soul sometimes. Christ should speak through the preacher, who shares the word, in this case, the word will be convincing and it will conquer nations.

They heard neither a wise word, nor a homily from Him, but they felt Himself. For not only listening to Him, they needed to enter into a relationship with Him, which was subtler and deeper than listening. “Eye to eye”, as people say, when no words are needed.  

That is why our purpose in church is not only reading and learning, and not simply going to church. We need Him. If we have stood out the Liturgy, but He was not there, then the Liturgy was dead. He should be there, and this is our purpose. We should not just come, fulfill our duty and leave satisfied. Throughout our whole spiritual lives, we should always be concerned about seeking Him, repeating all the time, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Where are You, Beloved?” These are the words of a soul, which is the bride of Christ. We should say so not only at a Liturgy, but also during our whole lives. Whether we work, do something, or go somewhere, we should not stop reciting the prayer, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”  

Our hope and faith are tested on the cross. It is easy to love in favorable times. However, on the night after the Crucifixion, it turned into a cross-bearing, fear and challenge.  Moreover, some days ago, thousands of people surrounded Him, but then, only a few remained. Only those who loved Him truly. And love guided them, making them fight down their fear and sense of danger. It pushed and pushed them there. They could not sleep, sit, eat, or drink. They strained after that place and went there.