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Patriarchate of Jerusalem: The Feast Day of the Holy Spirit at the Russian Church of the Holy Trinity – Missia

The feast of the Monday of the Holy Spirit was solemnly celebrated on June 11/24, 2024 at the magnificent Cathedral of the Holy Trinity belonging to the Russian Mission of the Moscow Patriarchate (MISSIA).

The Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem with the co-celebration of their Eminences, Metropolitans Kyriakos of Nazareth and Isychios of Capitolias, the Archbishop Aristarchos of Constantina, the Head of MISSIA Archimandrite Vassianos, Archimandrite Nikon and other Hieromonks and Priests of MISSIA, Holy Sepulchre Hieromonks, among whom, the Elder Kamarasis Archimandrite Nectarios, Archimandrite Christodoulos, Archdeacon Mark and Hierodeacon Eulogios. The chanting was delivered by the female Church Choir of Ein Karem Gornia, as the service was attended by the Ambassador of Russia Mr Anatoli Victorov, the Consul General of Greece in Jerusalem Mr. Dimitrios Angelosopoulos and many Russian-speaking faithful Christians.

Before Holy Communion His Beatitude delivered the following Sermon:

“It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16,7) the Lord said to His disciples.

Reverend Archimandrite Vassianos, Representative of His Beatitude the Patriarch of Moscow Cyril in Jerusalem,

Dear Brethren in Christ,

Reverend Christians and pilgrims

The grace of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ has gathered us all in this historical Church of the Holy Trinity, today, Monday of Pentecost, to celebrate the life-giving and Almighty Holy Spirit, the One Person of the Holy Trinity, who is equal, of one essence and of the same glory with the Father and the Son.

The Holy Church of Christ gives special honour to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, which brings together the whole institution of the Church. The institution of the Church is the body of Christ, as well as the spring of life, that is of eternal life, of our salvation as the hymnographer writes: “The Holy Spirit provideth all things; He gusheth forth prophecy; He perfecteth the priesthood; He hath taught wisdom to the illiterate. He hath shown forth the fishermen as theologians. He holdeth together the whole institution of the Church” (Saturday Vespers, Sticheron 3). And elsewhere he writes: “The Holy Spirit hath ever been, and is, and shall be, neither beginning nor ending; but He is ever ranked and numbered together with the Father and the Son. He is Life, and life-creating; Light, and light-bestowing; by nature good, and the source of goodness; through Him the Father is known, and the Son is glorified; and thereby all men acknowledge a single sovereignty, single covenant, a single worship of the Holy Trinity” (Sunday Vespers, Sticheron 2).

Great wonders did the Lord work on this day when the Holy Spirit revealed the Church of Christ to the world. Great is the Lord’s glory, for by the power and illumination of the Holy Spirit we become through baptism members of Christ, of the Church, as we put on Christ. And we are sealed with the permanent seal of the Holy Spirit.

The Disciples and Apostles of Christ travelled around all nations preaching the Gospel of Christ, consecrating Churches and were distinguished in hard toil, to whom Saint Paul says: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20,28). Interpreting these words, Saint Chrysostom notes that “Paul says these, not because it is preferable to have the salvation of the flock, but because it is the benefit of the flock when we look after ourselves”.

Paul’s example refers to the current active pastors in the various local Orthodox Churches, which Christ “gave…for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children,… carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph. 4, 11-14) that is, “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6,12).

This unity and “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4,3), have we come to proclaim in this Eucharistic gathering, with the brotherly Churches of Russia and Romania in the Holy City of Jerusalem, where the words of prophet Joel were fulfilled: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2,17).

The events that took place at the Upper Room in the Holy Zion, where all the disciples of Christ were gathered (Cf. Acts 2,1) remain always the prototype for the unity of our brotherly Orthodox Churches in the Holy Spirit and in the love of Christ. As Saint Cyril of Alexandria says; “the pouring of the Holy Spirit was given, God pleased the human nature excessively, crowning it with the glory from on high, hiding their sin out of His goodwill as it was in the beginning”.

It is noteworthy that the melodic words of Saint John of Damascus “Come receive the fire-breathing dew of the Spirit, as the ransom cleansing from faults and offences, O all ye that are the Church’s light-formed children; for now is the Law come forth from holy Sion: tongues formed of beacon-fire, even the Spirit’s grace” (Katavasia, Ode 5). And in more detail; light-formed children of the Church, accept the fiery dew of the Holy Spirit, that is the cleansing from our sins. Because now the grace of the Holy Spirit has gushed forth from Jerusalem in the form of tongues of fire.

Indeed, the Holy Spirit who enlightens and sanctifies our souls, made us light-formed children of the Church, through His divine illumination, as Saint Gregory the Theologian says: “The enlightenment is the illumination of the souls…partaking of the light, abolition of darkness”. Therefore, our dear brethren, let us pray to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Theotokos Maria, to become partakers of the light of the Comforter Holy Spirit.

And let us say along with the hymnographer: “Of old the tongues were confounded because of the audacity in the building of the tower, but now the tongues are made wise for the sake of the glory of Divine knowledge. There, God condemned the impious because of their offence; and here, Christ hath enlightened the fishermen by the Spirit. At that time the confusion of the tongues was wrought for punishment, but now the concord of tongues hath been inaugurated for the salvation of our souls” (Sunday Vespers, Glory). Amen. Many happy and peaceful returns!”

On this occasion, His Beatitude offered an icon of Bethlehem, while Fr Vassianos offered an icon of the Holy Trinity made by Andrei Roubliov.

After the Divine Liturgy, there was a reception and a festal monastic meal, where His Beatitude addressed those present, stressing the need of the unity of the Orthodox Churches.

From the General Secretariat

Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem