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The Feast of the Holy Spirit in the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Russian MISSIA

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On Monday, June 13, 2022, the Feast of the Holy Spirit was celebrated at the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Russian MISSIA of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is located in the New City of Jerusalem, not far from the New Gate.

In this marvelous church, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem, together with Archbishop of Constantine Aristarchus, Metropolitan Joachim of Hélénoupolis, the head of the Russian MISSIA Archimandrite Alexandre, the elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectaire and the Archdeacon Mark. The song was sung by the church choir of nuns who serve in this church, in the presence of a noble congregation of Russian-speaking and Arabic-speaking Christian faithful.

The Patriarch of Jerusalem delivered the following sermon to this congregation:

“And behold, I send upon you the promise of my Father; but remain in the city of Jerusalem, until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49) said the Lord to his disciples .

Your Grace, Archimandrite Alexander, Representative in Jerusalem of His Beatitude to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyril,

Beloved Brethren in Christ,

Christian nobles

The Grace of the Comforting Spirit has brought us all together in the Holy Church of Jerusalem of the Ecclesiastical MISSIA of the Fraternal Church of Russia, to co-celebrate in the Eucharist the Most Holy, Life-giving and Almighty Spirit, the ‘Unique Person of the Triune God, who is of one essence and glory with the Father and the Son.

According to Saint Gregory the Theologian, today “we celebrate Pentecost and the coming of the Spirit, and the time appointed for the promise and fulfillment of hope. How great is the mystery! She is both extremely great and very venerable” (Vespers, Sticheron 1).

Indeed, the fulfillment of the disciples by the Holy Spirit when they were gathered in the Upper Room is a great and most revered mystery (Acts 2:1-2). And this, on the one hand, because the Disciples “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4), and on the other hand, because this Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who holds together the whole institution of the Church. According to the word of the Lord, “God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). And this “Holy Spirit has always been, is and will be, without beginning or end; but he is always ranked and counted with the Father and the Son” theologizes Saint Gregory (Pentecost Sunday, Matins, Praises, Tropaire 2).

According to Saint Paul, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, meekness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such he does not there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). Referring to the various spiritual gifts, the wise Paul said: “All these [gifts] operates this one and the same Spirit, distributing to each separately as he wills. For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

For we are all baptized into one Spirit into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free; and all were quenched with one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:11-13).

This one body into which we have been baptized, my dear brothers, is none other than the body of the Church, namely the body of Christ, into which we have been grafted by the gift and communion of the Holy Spirit. and we put on the new man (ref. Col. 3:10). This is why Saint Cyril of Alexandria says about the word of the Lord “it is better for you that I go” (ref. John): “we must become communicants and participants in the divine nature of the Word, or rather, leaving one’s own life and transforming oneself into another in a newness of life that will please God. However, this was impossible for us except with fellowship and partaking of the Holy Spirit. And the most appropriate time for the sending of the Holy Spirit upon us was the time after the departure of our Savior Christ”.

The power of the Holy Spirit is that which holds together the whole institution of the Church as the hymnographer says: “The Holy Spirit supplies all things; He sprang the prophecy; He perfects the priesthood; he taught wisdom to the illiterate. He presented sinners as theologians. It holds together the whole institution of the Church” (Vespers, Sticheron 3).

Indeed, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and made their hearts pure and installed in the depths of their souls “a righteous spirit” which is the Holy Spirit, as Isychios interprets it. According to Origen, “first the heart is made pure and immediately afterwards the Spirit is installed in the depths”. As the psalmist says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God; and renew in me a righteous spirit” (Psalm 51:10).

This righteous spirit is none other than the Spirit of unity and peace in Christ. It is the Spirit who sustains unity between the faithful and the body of the Church according to the advice of Saint Paul: “I beseech you therefore to walk in a manner worthy of the vocation to which you are called… striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you are called to one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:1-4). Likewise, Saint Ignatius the God-bearer exhorts the Christians of Philadelphia; “Love unity, abstain from divisions; become imitators of Christ, as he became an imitator of his Father”.

It should also be noted that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the apostles spoke the wonders of God in tongues, the tongues of all the nations that lived in Jerusalem on the great day of Pentecost (ref. Acts 2:1- 11) .

Local churches are called to project these wonders of God, namely “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), as we live in a world of confusion, lawlessness and apostasy, taking into account the Voice of the Hymnographer: “Once upon a time tongues were confounded because of boldness in the building of the tower, but now tongues are made wise for the glory of divine knowledge. There God condemned the ungodly because of their offense; and here Christ enlightened the sinners by the Spirit. At that time the confusion of tongues was practiced for chastisement, but now the concord of tongues has been inaugurated for the salvation of our souls” (Vespers of Pentecost, Apostiche, Glory).

Let us pray, my dear brothers, as “sons of the Church full of light”, the Theotokos “who gave flesh to the Word”, so that, through her intercession, the Spirit of Truth dwells in us. And let us say with the hymnographer: “Draw near to us, draw near, you who are present everywhere, and as you are always with your apostles, so unite with you also we who aspire to you, O compassionate one, so that that being united to you, we can praise and glorify your most Holy Spirit” (Oikos). Amen. Many happy comebacks “.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by a meal at the Hotel Sergei near the MISSIA. The Patriarch of Jerusalem gave the following speech there:

“Dear Father Alexander,

Mr. Ambassador,

Your Eminences,

Your Graces,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Beloved Monks,

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Today we had the chance to celebrate again the Monday Divine Liturgy of the Holy Spirit in this great church dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

As we joyfully sang today:

When the Most High came down and confounded the tongues of men,

He divined the nations.

When he dispensed the tongues of fire, he called all to unity,

And with one voice we glorify the Most Holy Spirit.

(Kontakion of the Feast)

We therefore rejoice in the unity to which we have been called in our beloved Orthodox Church.

We come to this feast today with the words of the Psalmist in our hearts:

Create in me a pure heart O God,

And put in me a new and righteous spirit.

(Ps. 50[51]:ten)

We are commanded to maintain the unity of the Spirit by the bond of peace, precisely because there is one body and one Spirit (Eph. 4:30.

As we gather here, we do so in full realization of the challenges we face in our world and in our Church. These challenges should not surprise us, for even in the scriptures we are given warnings.

In the Gospel of Saint Luke, we read that there will be distress among the nations on earth, violence, fear and distress of all kinds (cf. Lk 20:20-28). The Church is also not immune to such dangers, for St. Paul warns that there should be no divisions (the Greek word is “schisms”) within the body, but members may have the same concern for one another (1 Cor. 12:25).

We know well that the truth is also what Saint Paul says: If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together (1 Cor. 12:26).

But this joyous celebration of the Holy Spirit reminds us of the freedom which is the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Church: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor. 3:17). It is freedom that is the guarantee of our peace and unity, a freedom that is not only for the Church, but for all humanity. As the hymnographer reminds us at Pentecost, the Most High has called everyone to unity.

In our world today, people of religious faith, and especially Christians, are in many places under pressure. Globalization threatens the uniqueness of cultures, societies and religious traditions. The Church of Jerusalem, as Mother of all the Churches, gives her life for the unity of the Church, and over the centuries the Patriarchate has been the guardian and guarantor of the Christian values ​​of the Scriptures and of the Holy Tradition. Just as our Lord Jesus Christ longed to gather the children of Jerusalem as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, so the Church of Jerusalem has gathered her children for protection and succor (cf. Matt. 23:37) .

At the first Pentecost, the people heard the disciples tell them of the great deeds of God (Acts 2:11). It is the role of the mission of the Church of Jerusalem, to witness the great actions of God and to embody in our lives the freedom and unity which are God’s gifts to the Church and to human family.

May God grant us all the heavenly Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the treasure blessings that fill all things, that we may more clearly reflect the freedom and unity to which we are called.

Thanks”.

Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem