-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.



Is it a sin to raise your voice at children?

– Our son, who is 16, and daughter, who is 13, sometimes allow themselves the words of reproach and morals towards us, their parents, who, according to them, do something in a wrong way.   At such moments, we have to point out strictly, but with a certain raise in our voices, that treating parents in this manner is impermissible. All this is accompanied by the loss of peace of my soul. Should I confess this state as a sin?   

– If you feel concerned about it, confess.

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

May we have exemptions during a fast?

May we have exemptions during a fast?

– May I have kefir (a dairy product) during a fast, as I have a sore stomach? It helps me a lot, otherwise, I have heartburn. I asked our parish priest, but he only shrugged his shoulders. I asked, “So, I should not violate the fast?” But he never answered.    

– You  better address your spiritual guide. He might know about your health and will bless you to loosen your fast in this relation. If you do not have a spiritual guide, then loosen your fast yourself, according to your health condition. 

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

May we read akathists during great lent?

– During Great Lent, people do not read akathists, but there are the days of commemoration of the holy icons of the Theotokos. And I would very much like to glorify Her by reading the akathists.

– Well, you can go home, close the door and glorify as much as you wish. I think, God will not punish you. I try to find out, why we cannot read akathists during Great Lent. They say there is the word “rejoice, rejoice” there, but we should shed our tears in the time of Lent. Our tears are sometimes of the Pharisees. Alright, today we have Lent and we will cry. You know, tears should come naturally. When you repent sincerely, you may even cry at the Paschal service, and you cannot help it.  

 Joy should be natural too. It does not work in compliance with a schedule. For example, you have met God at the Liturgy today, and your heart is jubilant, and no Church canon or rule will make you stop being happy, as you have natural joy and tears. It is bad when we make a kind of rehearsal out of this, or try to have it according to a schedule. All of this resembles, to some, Orthodox theater. You better not make any plans, but live and pray attentively and be with God. In this case, we will have a state, which combines two opposite things, a grief and a joy.   This means we are always grieving over the contrast between God and us, as we see ourselves before God in our attentive prayer. We are so far from Him, but He loves us so much and we do not love Him the same way. That is why we grieve. At the same time, we clearly see and perceive that He loves us no matter what, and does not turn away from us. At that moment, our grief transforms into our joy, and these two states become one. 

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

Can we experience God without prayer?

– Can we experience God without prayer?

– Those people, who do not know prayer, cannot experience God. They may know a lot about God. They may even be professors of theology, but people can experience God only through prayer. That is why we implore people to dedicate much time to pronounce the Jesus prayer. Not only for two hours in the evening, or during the Divine Liturgy, but say it during the daytime; say it all the time. In the beginning, we gave ourselves a task: to pronounce the Jesus prayer all day long; the prayer became dull, and we began to relax. That is why we remind you once again: say this prayer, as it should be not only your obedience, it should be your joy. Because when you have this prayer, nothing can be compared to this state, no kind of joy.

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

What should I do if I am afraid of taking the Eucharist because of covid?

– I have a fear because of covid, as many people die. The Patriarchy ordered to give the Eucharist from single-use spoons or to wipe the spoon with alcohol after each person. In fact, the situation at different churches is different. At some churches, people do not wear masks at all and take the Eucharist from one spoon. My relative and over 10 friends died from covid. I go to church very seldom now because of my fear and I am afraid of taking the Eucharist. What should I do?  

– If you live in a big city, I think, you may find a parish where they give the Eucharist taking all of those  precautions. On the other hand, you may ask a priest. If he is a “sober-minded” priest, he will respond to your appeal. 

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

A child has no desire to go to church. Why?

– When my child was little, he went to church with pleasure. Now that he is older, he does not want to go to a service. Why?  

– Often it happens that we push and torture our children with our faith, while their faith has not taken place yet. It seems to us they go to church sincerely, but they do this because we make them. In fact, nothing has happened in their souls. So, when they grow up and have no fear of parents, they cease going to church.   

We need to have much patience, wisdom, and love, so that our children follow us. We should not bark at them all the time, but become an example for them. They need to see we have succeeded in our faith. As very often, they only hear our words, but do not see the results at all. That is why they do not believe in our faith. Often, we do not live up to the high words we tell our children. That is why they get disappointed in our faith.  

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

Do we need to ask God for a church?

– Father, we ask for your prayers! We are a young family and my husband is a priest. We were assigned to build a church in a place littered with garbage, surrounded by garages, and with nothing but a site container. For nine years before us, monks and a priest were trying to build, but they didn’t succeed. We have been serving akathists at the container for three years already, but nothing has changed. We realize we need to build a church inside ourselves first. Then, we will be able to build a church at our site, but we do not have any spiritual experience. We fuss and sometimes even grumble. Our hearts are closed to God. We are too young and stupid. Do we need to ask God for the church? Or is this too bold of us?  

– We need to ask God for patience, diligence, and the understanding of His providence through our spiritual life – understand what God wants for us and follow this path. In order to understand the providence of God, we need to practice spiritual life and be in the Spirit. Of course, I sympathize with you, as your life is very hard.  However, you should always remember that it is not that bad, and someone may have even worse circumstances. You should try to begin your spiritual life and do not set terms for God to fulfill your plans. You should pray gently and mildly, be patient, and hope for the best.  

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov

How should I become a support to my incurably ill child?

–My child has been gravely ill since his childhood. Knowing the consequences of this disease, I realize that I might outlive him… How should I become his support and example? 

– Do not go into hysterics. This is your reality you will have to accept. There are no options. This will remain, and nothing will change. How should you support him? Just love him. There is no need to speak too much  on this topic. This is all very sad, and there is no need for making it worse. Just be his loving parents.  

What example should you give? You know, he will suffer much from his illness and thus he will even become wiser than you are at some point. Suffering makes people wise. It will make you wiser too. Those people who do not know what suffering is, live more thoughtlessly. Meanwhile, those who have suffered have deep hearts.  

Archpriest Sergiy Baranov